Aug. 22, 2022

The Rise of Chef James Shirley: From the South Side to the Top of the Culinary World

The Rise of Chef James Shirley: From the South Side to the Top of the Culinary World

The Rise of Chef James Shirley: From the South Side to the Top of the Culinary World 4 2

Do you want to be successful in the culinary industry? You're told to get experience in as many kitchens as possible, but you can't seem to get your foot in the door. If you're feeling stuck and frustrated, this episode is for you.

"I always reach back. I don't look down on people. If I'm looking down, I'm looking down to reach up, to reach my hand out, to pick you up, because I've seen it happen." -James Shirley.

James Shirley is a world-renowned chef who has worked in some of the finest restaurants in the world. He is known for his dedication to his craft and his ability to mentor and coach other culinarians.

This is Chef James Shirley's story...

James Shirley had always been passionate about music, but when he found himself without a place at Gramblan state, he decided to return to Chicago and look for a job. He ended up working in the kitchen of Spiasha, a Northern Italian restaurant. There, he was taught by the executive chef, Anthony J. Montuano. Montuano saw potential in Shirley, even though he was a disaster in the kitchen, eventually making him his sous chef. Shirley went on to have a successful career as an executive chef, breaking stereotypes along the way.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. How James Shirley went from the streets of the South Side of Chicago to the shores of Hawaii

2. The demons that James Shirley had to fight along the way

3. How James Shirley became a successful executive chef

Chapter Summaries:

[00:00:04] - In the past, it was easy for an owner to buy his chef a car, get him an apartment or help him with his recreational activities. Now it's more difficult. On this episode of chef life radio, adam lamb and James Shirley will talk about how James Shirley came up in the industry in Chicago and how he went from the south side to the shores of Hawaii.

[00:02:28] - Adam is happy to welcome James Shirley to the show. James got into cooking because he has a strong work ethic based on his family upbringing coming from the south. Adam's mother is Betty Shirley, a world-renowned jazz singer, the famous jazz singer who lives in New Orleans. James worked for the city of Chicago. James got a lot of training and mentorship at Bias. Anthony J. Montano, who is the executive chef and part owner of Spiesho, worked for the Levies. James was the only black guy in the kitchen in a five-star restaurant with no pedigree for a long time. James is happy when he goes on LinkedIn and sees a vast array of people of color at the level of executive chefs. Adam Lam is still working as a sous chef for the city of Chicago. Adam used to cook and call himself Moonlighting. Adam worked at Gordon's and Gordon S. Claire's restaurant in Jupiter, Florida. Adam has worked in some of the finest restaurants in Windy City. Back then, you could get paid what you were worth if you had owners willing to pay that.

[00:17:58] - John's family came from Jackson, Mississippi, Alabama, and New Orleans. His grandparents left the south around the time of Emmett Till's Lynching. They came north and settled in the Bronxville area of Chicago. John didn't have a working functioning relationship with his mother in his early years. John's mom is a product of the Vietnam era, and she sang in New York for a while. Both you and your past have been intertwined for both good and bad reasons. You both had some rough times, and you came through it. You are still heavily involved in the recovery kind of network. You want to make sure that you stand for those people. It's not an attitude usually shared in the hospitality industry.

[00:25:41] - The culinary world is like a pseudo-masochistic relationship. It's like leaving the dungeon and showing up again for the next day. Chefs go through a lot of abuse from their employers, their customers, and from their families to do what they do well. The number one thing that will lose them in their industry is balance. James is a sensitive person. He wants to talk about how sensitive people can be in the industry. James wants to change the attitude of the industry towards sensitive people. James took away a colleague's pride in the office. James believes it's important to acknowledge the fact that sensitive people are creative. Adam Lam has opened up some boundaries and some doors for the community to talk about what goes on in the workplace. Adam's wife convinced him to wear a chef's coat to work. Adam is proud of Adam and his senior management team. Adam loves his work and his colleagues. James had an argument with his partner about being a chef. He believes that being a professional chef puts people in unhealthy situations mentally, physically or emotionally. James wants to shift his perspective and focus on being a human being with needs and desires. He loves pedicures.

[00:43:33] - This episode of Chef Life Radio is about working in a kitchen. It's a demanding job, but it doesn't have to be demeaning. It doesn't define you as a person or make you any more special or less than anyone else. It is just a dance we're engaged in.

[00:45:04] - This show was produced, recorded, and edited by Adam Lamb at the Dish Pit Studios in Bardo, North Carolina.



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Transcript
James Shirley:

Owners used to dying at other competitors' restaurants to see

James Shirley:

who's their cook and would ask them to come out to the table and undermine.

James Shirley:

And underhandedly say, what's this guy paying you.

James Shirley:

You know, and they would say, what's this guy paying you and

James Shirley:

you'd say, Hey man, he's paying me, you know, how's he treating you?

James Shirley:

You know?

James Shirley:

And back then it was easy for an owner to buy his chef a car or,

James Shirley:

uh, get him over an apartment.

James Shirley:

Or helping with his recreational activities, you know, uh, it was easy, you

James Shirley:

know, I, I can remember I worked somewhere and I won't name him that every new year's

James Shirley:

Eve, if we packed a house and got all the tables fed before midnight, There

James Shirley:

was a gram of Coke on the bar, uh, a, a envelope with $500, a bottle of Dawn or

James Shirley:

some taters and a pat on the back saying, man, you guys rocked it out tonight.

James Shirley:

Congratulate happy new year, you know, uh, that's the kind of mentality that went on.

James Shirley:

You know, you're a rockstar at work.

James Shirley:

and you live in the projects and you go home on the L or something.

James Shirley:

And you know, you live in a real shitty world.

James Shirley:

And, but at work you're a hero.

James Shirley:

You're a legend or you're a rock star at work.

James Shirley:

And you come from an abusive family and at work you're, you're a God that's

Adam Lamb:

executive chef.

Adam Lamb:

Brother from another mother, James Shirley.

Adam Lamb:

And on this episode of chef life radio, we're gonna be talking about

Adam Lamb:

what it was like to come up in the industry in Chicago, in the nineties

Adam Lamb:

and how he went from the streets of the south side to the shores of Hawaii.

Adam Lamb:

We'll talk about the demons that he had to fight along the way.

Adam Lamb:

And after the break, you're gonna find out how you can do the same too.

Adam Lamb:

Doesn't matter where you're at, it only matters where you're headed.

Adam Lamb:

Stay tuned to find out what it really takes to succeed.

Adam Lamb:

This is chef life radio, serving chefs, just like you who wanna enjoy their

Adam Lamb:

careers without sacrificing their lives.

Adam Lamb:

I'm your host, Adam Lamb.

Adam Lamb:

And over my 30 year career, as a chef and hospitality, professional, I've

Adam Lamb:

coached and mentored thousands of Arians who led lives of contribution

Adam Lamb:

community and authentic leadership.

Adam Lamb:

Let me be your guide on this journey together, looking for solutions and

Adam Lamb:

perspectives to some of the biggest issues impacting the hospitality industry, our

Adam Lamb:

lives and our careers today we chef.

Adam Lamb:

And now back to the show, I'd like to welcome to the show.

Adam Lamb:

Very dear friend.

Adam Lamb:

Executive chef James Shirley, what is up?

Adam Lamb:

My

James Shirley:

brother, man.

James Shirley:

Adam.

James Shirley:

It's been a journey, man.

James Shirley:

It's so good to see you.

James Shirley:

It's so good to

Adam Lamb:

see you, man.

Adam Lamb:

I'm excited to hear about your journey, you know, because we've, we've stayed

Adam Lamb:

in touch albeit a little bit, you know, I could own some of that and

Adam Lamb:

say, I could have been a little bit more present and, and, and reaching

Adam Lamb:

out, but we've managed to somehow stay connected throughout our entire careers.

Adam Lamb:

And so I'm just tickle to death that I get to see you.

Adam Lamb:

And you're in the position you are because when we first.

Adam Lamb:

You didn't wanna have anything to do with culinary?

Adam Lamb:

I mean, you were just, it was a little side hustle to you,

James Shirley:

right?

James Shirley:

It was, I worked for the city of Chicago and the, the crazy part about how I got

James Shirley:

into food is because of my passion for music because of me being a musician.

James Shirley:

Um, I'm a professionally trained musician.

James Shirley:

I, I had music in all my life.

James Shirley:

My mother's a world renowned jazz singer, famous jazz singer.

James Shirley:

For those of you out there who, who are hipsters and like jazz and blues,

James Shirley:

she, she resides in new Orleans.

James Shirley:

And her name is Betty Shirley.

James Shirley:

And she's sang with just about everybody on the planet.

James Shirley:

And, uh, she resides in new Orleans sings in still she's like 78 and still singing.

James Shirley:

She's still singing.

James Shirley:

She makes juries she's school teacher, but I got into cooking because I had.

James Shirley:

Strong work ethic based on my family upbringing coming from the south.

James Shirley:

And, uh, I was raised by my grandparents and it was like,

James Shirley:

we don't care what you do.

James Shirley:

You gonna work, you know, we don't care.

James Shirley:

What happens?

James Shirley:

You gonna hire your, and, uh, I, I remember there's, there's some people

James Shirley:

that are some baby boomers that remember the term chores, you know,

James Shirley:

you get home, you had chores to do so.

James Shirley:

I, I got a job.

James Shirley:

I was, uh, I had went to, you know, let me back up.

James Shirley:

I went to.

James Shirley:

Grammar school, high school, middle school, marching band, concert

James Shirley:

band as band, all city band drum, and played with a lot of artists.

James Shirley:

I was really good and, uh, I still play and, uh, I had gotten into rambling state.

James Shirley:

And if anybody seen the movie drum line.

James Shirley:

I was like Nick and I had a cocky, arrogant attitude.

James Shirley:

I took, I went to rambling, Louisiana with a, a suitcase full of clothes

James Shirley:

and, and weed and my attitude.

James Shirley:

And then I found out real quickly that I wasn't or tolerated with with that.

James Shirley:

And so I was back in Chicago before I knew it.

James Shirley:

And my band director reached out for me again.

James Shirley:

And then I got into Vander college of music, and then I said, well,

James Shirley:

you know, who needs music school?

James Shirley:

When I.

James Shirley:

You know, one of the top drummers in the city, and I'll soon be playing with

James Shirley:

airplane and fire or, you know, Chicago or some top band, you know, and I'm playing

James Shirley:

at nightclubs and stuff at, at a really young age playing with my band director.

James Shirley:

So I walked into SPIA nine 80 north Michigan.

James Shirley:

And, uh, one of my classmates was the executive steward and uh, he

James Shirley:

said, James, what are you doing here?

James Shirley:

And I said, man, looking for a job and it's me and one of my childhood friends.

James Shirley:

And he says, well, You know, can you cook?

James Shirley:

And I said, sure, I could cook.

James Shirley:

I can make cheeseburgers and cheeseburgers and you know, I'm good at girl baloney

James Shirley:

sandwiches and stuff, and fish sticks, you know, it's like, nah, that's

James Shirley:

not quite what this is in detailed.

James Shirley:

And before I knew it, I was catapulted.

James Shirley:

I was shot out of a cannon into the world.

James Shirley:

Uh, the underbelly of IEN fine dining it's nor Northern Italian cuisine.

James Shirley:

Next thing.

James Shirley:

I know I'm making calamari and we're taking the acks outta fish to make

James Shirley:

Fe I got some real hands on training and I was a walking nightmare, a

James Shirley:

disaster in the kitchen for many years.

James Shirley:

Why, why do you say that?

James Shirley:

Well, I walked in the kitchen and.

James Shirley:

I got no culinary degree, no pedigree, no culinary experience.

James Shirley:

I'm around Johnston and well grads I'm around CIA grads.

James Shirley:

You know, back in the day, Adam, you've been in Chicago, Washburn trade

James Shirley:

school was a big place for cooks to go.

James Shirley:

She hospitality.

James Shirley:

And you know, here I am, you know, this kid that I, I didn't know, a spoon from a

James Shirley:

calendar, I didn't know a Civ from a OI.

James Shirley:

I didn't, you know, and, and I remember.

James Shirley:

My first moment of truth was when I burned four boxes of Pines in a day

James Shirley:

and, and those things I remember, and they just sat and watched, you know,

James Shirley:

because they, no one told me that, you know, five minutes, three minutes

James Shirley:

topping oven at three 50, you know, nobody told me how much they cost.

James Shirley:

Nobody said anything.

James Shirley:

And so they just watched me.

James Shirley:

Kinda kinda stumble and Bumble through the kitchen.

James Shirley:

And I was a, you know, the, the kitchen joke.

Adam Lamb:

Wait, wait, wait, before you go.

Adam Lamb:

I, I don't, I don't mean to interrupt you, but I just wanna make a point about

Adam Lamb:

the fact that, you know, the type of training and mentorship that you got

Adam Lamb:

at Bija, you know, that's the way it used to be for in every restaurant.

Adam Lamb:

Right.

Adam Lamb:

And the fact that they allowed you to burn four boxes of pine

Adam Lamb:

nuts and then say anything is kind of like, yeah, he's gonna.

Adam Lamb:

Now anybody tries to do that.

Adam Lamb:

And you know, there asses out the street because you know how much that costs,

Adam Lamb:

and there is an expense when you have apprentices, but that type of training,

Adam Lamb:

have you ever burned a Pinenut ever

James Shirley:

since then?

James Shirley:

Never.

James Shirley:

And I won't let anybody else burn them either.

James Shirley:

Cause I know how much it costs, you know, but, but the most valuable thing.

James Shirley:

So I give homage to.

James Shirley:

Anthony J Monte, who is the executive chef, uh, and part owner of SPIA

James Shirley:

because he bought, he worked for the levys for a long time.

James Shirley:

And, you know, he's been all over the place.

James Shirley:

He was on the, he was in the spotlight for a minute with French chef, uh,

James Shirley:

Brad cause Mario Batali and, and Tony Tuana and a couple other Italian chefs

James Shirley:

were all, uh, kinda sponsors of it.

James Shirley:

And it was in the heyday in Chicago.

James Shirley:

When, when.

James Shirley:

You know, hot cuisine was, was all over the place.

James Shirley:

New VE cuisine was all over the place.

James Shirley:

If you had a bistro or Victoria or Italian restaurant, or any of those

James Shirley:

places were all over the place.

James Shirley:

And he, he pulled me in the office one day and said, guess what?

James Shirley:

And I just knew he was gonna fire me.

James Shirley:

He says, you know, you're, you're a train wreck, but you know, I

James Shirley:

love the fact you show up every day and you take the abuse off these.

James Shirley:

He said every non-speaking dishwasher I have in my kitchen can probably

James Shirley:

out cook my, my best, you know, executive, sewer, sous chef, and

James Shirley:

they can't speak a lick English.

James Shirley:

He said the fact that you show up every day and you, you take crap off these

James Shirley:

guys, is this a non profanity show?

James Shirley:

Cause I might drop the F bomb.

James Shirley:

I might, I might drop a few slur.

Adam Lamb:

No pro dude profanity is encouraged on this show.

Adam Lamb:

We get the big E in front of our name.

Adam Lamb:

We don't give a shit, fuck drop it.

Adam Lamb:

If we

James Shirley:

wanna says you're about dumb as a bag of rocks, but the rest of

James Shirley:

those assholes in the kitchen, I, I I'd have you work any day, you know, uh, over

James Shirley:

them because you know, you take a lot of crap off of them and, uh, You know,

James Shirley:

the inevitable happened, uh, somebody called off and that happens in our world.

James Shirley:

Somebody's demise is somebody's success in our world.

James Shirley:

And so somebody screwed up, didn't make their shift.

James Shirley:

And next thing you know, I was sauteing in the cafe and he asked me, James, you

James Shirley:

wanna, I'm gonna throw you in the cafe.

James Shirley:

You're gonna saute.

James Shirley:

I couldn't say it.

James Shirley:

Let alone pronounce it or spell it at the time.

James Shirley:

I didn't know how I didn't have a clue.

James Shirley:

What sauteing.

James Shirley:

So before I knew it, I was making, you know, Cario plates and partio

James Shirley:

and VGAs and O Buco and BU, and my vernacular had changed.

James Shirley:

And I didn't, I, you know, I had always had language at school

James Shirley:

and I think led to another man.

James Shirley:

And, uh, before I knew.

James Shirley:

I was, uh, I was a roundsman.

James Shirley:

I was a first to not, I was working for the Levy's at several properties and,

James Shirley:

uh, I got good at it, you know, and, uh, and I, and I had to deal with the

James Shirley:

other, the other pink elephant in the room, you know, I'm the only black guy

James Shirley:

in the kitchen in, in a five star, uh, restaurant, you know, uh, with no PED.

James Shirley:

You know, and, and that, and that, that existed then, and it still kind of exists

James Shirley:

now to some degree, you know, I'm, I'm really ecstatic when I go on LinkedIn and

James Shirley:

I, and I see a vast array of people of color at the level of executive chefs.

James Shirley:

And beyond that, Who have broken those glass ceilings and, and got past the

James Shirley:

stereotypical male European dominated industry of I'm French, I'm Austrian,

James Shirley:

I'm German, I'm Italian, I'm from some foreign I'm from somewhere in Europe.

James Shirley:

And now I'm an executive chef and you're supposed to bow down to me, you know?

James Shirley:

So, uh, we, we, we broken those, those stereotypes, man.

James Shirley:

And, and I always, you know, I'm humbled and grateful where the universe.

James Shirley:

Has sent me and where, where the God of my own understanding has

James Shirley:

placed me in, in doing what I do.

James Shirley:

And so I always reach back.

James Shirley:

I don't look down on people.

James Shirley:

Uh I'm if I'm, if I'm looking down, I'm looking down to reach up, to

James Shirley:

reach my hand out, to pick you up, you know, because I've seen it happen.

James Shirley:

You know, I've had a woman sous chef.

James Shirley:

And she was, she was a killer.

James Shirley:

She was a beast man as African American sister, who I made my sous chef.

James Shirley:

And couldn't nobody understand why did I do that?

James Shirley:

Because she car.

James Shirley:

You know, at the end of the day, do you care about the product you

James Shirley:

put out what you do, how you do it?

James Shirley:

I don't care where you come from, what walk alive, what pedigree, you

James Shirley:

know, uh, I'd rather have somebody that shows up to work on time in a

James Shirley:

clean APR, in a cold the uniform.

James Shirley:

And they, they could be the worst thing under the sun color wise in

James Shirley:

the kitchen, but it is the attitude.

James Shirley:

And Tony told me, he said, you got the heart of a lion.

James Shirley:

He said, one day, you'll be good at.

James Shirley:

And I didn't take it seriously.

James Shirley:

And, uh, I worked for the city of Chicago for a lot of years and I

James Shirley:

cooked and I, and I called myself moonlighting until I ran up on this

James Shirley:

cat name, Adam Lamb, who said, man, you're good at this, you know, on this.

James Shirley:

Guy with a mulling and a long ponytail and gun GOE and real hip.

James Shirley:

And you know, the swashbuckler in the kitchen, you know, and said,

James Shirley:

man, you ought to, you ought to be, you ought to take this serious, you

James Shirley:

know, Shirley dog, you good at this?

James Shirley:

And so here I am,

Adam Lamb:

that was my very first exec, uh, uh, sous chef job at Dick, you know,

Adam Lamb:

true one, you know, in an operation that's yeah, that's in an operation.

Adam Lamb:

That's doing, you know, they said they suspect it to do

Adam Lamb:

2.8 million the first year.

Adam Lamb:

I think they did like 18.

Adam Lamb:

I mean, we were doing, we were doing dishes in the parking

Adam Lamb:

lot that God place was so busy.

Adam Lamb:

Of course, that was 1986.

Adam Lamb:

They bears had just won the super bowl.

Adam Lamb:

And Bob's your uncle.

Adam Lamb:

Here you are.

Adam Lamb:

You're still working for the city of Chicago, you know, it's funny.

Adam Lamb:

Cause you say, I, I always thought that you were moonlighting because you

Adam Lamb:

know, you had that expensive habit.

Adam Lamb:

That car, yours.

Adam Lamb:

Yeah.

James Shirley:

And, uh, I, I had this Delta, a eight Royal bro

James Shirley:

that my grandfather took me to Hanley Dawson Cadillac to buy.

James Shirley:

And anybody that's from Chicago that can go back in their time machine.

James Shirley:

They'll remember Hanley Dawson Cadillac.

James Shirley:

So I'm kind, I'm kind of predated myself too as well.

James Shirley:

So, but it was all, you know, Han Dawson Cadillac was down the

James Shirley:

street from Dickers because it was.

James Shirley:

Uh, around the corner on lasal I believe either on Ohio or off

James Shirley:

of lasal or something like that.

James Shirley:

And they were next to ma Murray majors, sporting goods and stuff like that.

James Shirley:

So I got this car and, you know, I had went through my first car.

James Shirley:

And, um, you know, I was like, okay, I, I got a real automobile, you know, and

James Shirley:

it was tricked out with tinted windows and opera lights and, you know, uh,

James Shirley:

had the, uh, Jensen speakers and Alpine

Adam Lamb:

amp, the wheels and the tires

James Shirley:

and everything like L LJ by with the booming system, baby,

James Shirley:

you know, uh, and, uh, and it was cool.

James Shirley:

It was cool, man.

James Shirley:

I, I had a lot of.

James Shirley:

Uh, strange appetites too, then that I was just all over the place, man,

James Shirley:

being young and crazy, you know,

Adam Lamb:

you're not saying that the reason that you decided that

Adam Lamb:

you were gonna go into this full time is because of a conversation.

James Shirley:

You and I had.

James Shirley:

It's funny how you have conversations with people and they impact your life.

James Shirley:

And they later on it's like an old song.

James Shirley:

Mama always said they be days like.

James Shirley:

You know, and, and you hear that, that voice somewhere, you know, you planted a

James Shirley:

seed, Adam, you, and thank God for that.

James Shirley:

You know, you planted a seed, but the inevitable happened.

James Shirley:

I got good, you know, and I got really good at what I was doing.

James Shirley:

I just, I was, I didn't know I was good at it.

James Shirley:

And I didn't know, it was meant for me to do it.

James Shirley:

Cause I couldn't find my way.

James Shirley:

You know, I had worked through some of the finest restaurants.

James Shirley:

And it's funny that people talk about, you know, grant access and,

James Shirley:

and Charlie Trotter and, you know, and all these other chefs that are out

James Shirley:

there, the Michael Cornick and stuff.

James Shirley:

And I remember working at Gordon's when they were coming through the door.

James Shirley:

And so I worked at this famous, uh, restaurant owned by this famous, uh,

James Shirley:

restaurant tour named Gordon Sinclair.

James Shirley:

He had a place in, uh, called ju in Jupiter, Florida.

James Shirley:

I believe.

James Shirley:

But he also had the knack of finding talent.

James Shirley:

So he found Charlie Trotter.

James Shirley:

He found grant ates.

James Shirley:

He found, uh, I think he was affiliated with Norman van a and he's he's, he's had

James Shirley:

this whole line cast of great chefs that have come through the windy city in the

James Shirley:

Midwest that he went out and, you know, he, he recruited or, or he, you know, he.

James Shirley:

He had a higher, he had a bigger, bigger dollar.

James Shirley:

It's like, it's like the professionals athletes, you know,

James Shirley:

he had a bigger paycheck to a bigger offer on the table and.

James Shirley:

I got a chance to work around these guys.

James Shirley:

And so everywhere you were back then, if you could master the Broer station,

James Shirley:

you could walk in any restaurant and get a job as a Broer cook.

James Shirley:

If, if, you know, if, if you had a reputation on the magnificent mile,

James Shirley:

gold coast, you know, Adam, it was like somebody hired that guy, you

James Shirley:

know, he's, he's working a Broer.

James Shirley:

At the pump room or he's working a broiler at, uh, uh, Hugo's park.

James Shirley:

Yeah.

James Shirley:

Or, or at Larry's prime house prime rib, he's working, uh,

James Shirley:

you know, Morton steakhouse.

James Shirley:

He's the broiler guy over there that's gonna get.

James Shirley:

And these owners knew that these guys were good, cuz they kept their money

James Shirley:

coming in and they weren't gonna lose 'em.

James Shirley:

So you know that back then you could get paid what you were worth

James Shirley:

in a sense almost, you know, you had owners that was willing to pay.

Adam Lamb:

So, uh, before you get any further, you mentioned, uh, that your

Adam Lamb:

family was originally from the south.

Adam Lamb:

Where, where did your, where, where do people hail

Adam Lamb:

from?

James Shirley:

Well, Jackson, Mississippi, and, uh, throughout the

James Shirley:

south, I've got family in Jackson.

James Shirley:

I've got family in, uh, Alabama, new Orleans.

James Shirley:

And right now, um, my, my, my grandparents migrated from the south.

James Shirley:

Right around the time this individual named Emmett till was lynched and in

James Shirley:

the south, uh, lynching was prevalent.

James Shirley:

And my grandparents got out because my uncle was prominent,

James Shirley:

educated, good looking, and they didn't want him to be a statistic.

James Shirley:

They didn't want him to be, uh, another one of our.

James Shirley:

You know, uh, George Floyd type situations that, that went on back then.

James Shirley:

And so they came north and they did what most black families

James Shirley:

do when they leave the south.

James Shirley:

They migrate to metropolis areas and.

James Shirley:

Big cities and they get these jobs, factory jobs, industrial jobs.

James Shirley:

And my grandmother was a seamstress.

James Shirley:

And then she had lost her sight and regained her sight.

James Shirley:

And my grandfather, they were both uneducated and they

James Shirley:

raised five generations of us.

James Shirley:

You know, of kids, you know, who, who are doing really well.

James Shirley:

And my grandfather worked at Reynolds foil company that made Reynolds aluminum foil.

James Shirley:

His family had property on the south side and they live in, lived in Bronzeville

James Shirley:

area and, uh, which is really up and boom and popular now in Chicago property up,

James Shirley:

you're doing well in Bronzeville and was just taught that, you know, There was

James Shirley:

never a day that we went without food.

James Shirley:

There was never a day that we went without light, never a day.

James Shirley:

We went with without gas.

James Shirley:

There was nothing that they would not do for me.

James Shirley:

You know, my early years I did not have a, a, a working functioning

James Shirley:

relationship with my mother.

James Shirley:

You know, I, I grew up, uh, kind of confused a little bit angry and

James Shirley:

frustrated, you know, uh, because all.

James Shirley:

Friends had younger parents.

James Shirley:

And I was raised by these older people and kids are cruel

James Shirley:

because they tell you the truth.

James Shirley:

They say exactly what they see, not what they know all the time.

James Shirley:

They say you're fat, you're black, you're white, you're ugly.

James Shirley:

You're skinny.

James Shirley:

You're buck teeth.

James Shirley:

You're bald.

James Shirley:

You know, your mom is big, you know, you're poor, you know,

James Shirley:

they, they say things like that to each other and we don't know

James Shirley:

the impact it has on us growing.

James Shirley:

Into our adult lives, the things that were said to us and how they, how they

James Shirley:

made us feel and what eventually became of us, because in the back of our psyche,

James Shirley:

uh, in the back of my mind, I had to fight, fight those demons off of hearing

James Shirley:

that I have a beautiful relationship with my mother now, but, uh, my grandparents

James Shirley:

came up north and that's what happened.

Adam Lamb:

Was it because Betty was so involved in her

Adam Lamb:

career that she wasn't around

James Shirley:

much.

James Shirley:

My mother wasn't able to raise kids.

James Shirley:

You know, my mother was not fit to be a mother at that time, you know,

James Shirley:

and she, she openly admits that.

James Shirley:

And she, she talks about being grateful that my grandmother, uh, raised her

James Shirley:

kids, you know, because my mother is a product of the sixties, the seventies,

James Shirley:

the, uh, post the, the, the Vietnam era, uh, free love and, and, and,

James Shirley:

and free speech and hippies and, and, and, uh, you know, You know, drugs

James Shirley:

has always been around for years.

James Shirley:

It just has had different generational aspects.

James Shirley:

And during the sixties, you know, people were experimenting and, and my mom

James Shirley:

was, she sang in New York for a while.

James Shirley:

And, you know, before she got her act together, cuz she had to go through some

James Shirley:

stuff too, but I'm very proud of my mom.

James Shirley:

Um, my mom is my hero to date, you know, because, because of what she

James Shirley:

went through, it made me stronger.

James Shirley:

You know, I didn't know some things.

James Shirley:

I didn't know the truth about why my mother wasn't

James Shirley:

president until I became older.

James Shirley:

And, uh, you know, I, I got into involved in a 12 step program that

James Shirley:

helped me do some research and, and find out some things about.

James Shirley:

Why I did what I did and what made me do what I do.

James Shirley:

And, and, uh, that, that helped me to give my life back.

James Shirley:

You know, I think recovery's called recovery for a reason, cause it

James Shirley:

helps people regain some things and, and get their life back.

James Shirley:

So my mom is great.

James Shirley:

She, she she's my hero, you know, and, uh, my grandparents, God bless them.

James Shirley:

You know, Adam, when my grandfather had started.

James Shirley:

Getting ill.

James Shirley:

I was at Dickers and I remember, you know, the, the whole team at Dickers

James Shirley:

was like, you take as long as you need to take care of your grandfather.

James Shirley:

I already, I'll never forget getting that call when he first had his first stroke.

James Shirley:

And, uh, he was wor he was on his way.

James Shirley:

He was at work, you know, and he was 70 something years old, still writing

James Shirley:

public transportation, riding the L going to Springfield, pumping station,

James Shirley:

you know, getting off on, uh, I think, uh, Grand or either north avenue, you

James Shirley:

know, and, uh, going up to Springfield pump station, you know, and, uh, I

James Shirley:

took care of him, you know, I took care of him until the day he died.

James Shirley:

You know,

Adam Lamb:

you, you just, you just put out so much, man.

Adam Lamb:

And I just wanna, uh, step back a little bit because you, you made some like James,

Adam Lamb:

when you get on a roll, man, you throw out stuff that, you know, Would leave most

Adam Lamb:

people like slack, Jo, like, like what, what are you, what are you talking about?

Adam Lamb:

So I wanna kind of revisit this whole point about being good to your life.

Adam Lamb:

And so there's, there's no secret that, you know, our past has been intertwined

Adam Lamb:

for, for both good and bad reasons.

Adam Lamb:

And we've followed each other's story.

Adam Lamb:

And, you know, the fact is, is that we both had some rough times and

Adam Lamb:

we came through it and it made.

Adam Lamb:

Stronger.

Adam Lamb:

And I think made us both, probably more empathetic to others that

Adam Lamb:

might be challenged the same way.

Adam Lamb:

I know that you're still heavily involved in the recovery kind of network and you

Adam Lamb:

make yourself available and you wanna make sure that you stand for those people.

Adam Lamb:

And that's not an attitude that's usually shared, especially

Adam Lamb:

in the hospitality industry.

Adam Lamb:

It's changing now, thankfully.

Adam Lamb:

But, um, you know, now that that door's open up a Creek, I wanna

Adam Lamb:

kick that motherfucker down because there's lots of stuff that I would've

Adam Lamb:

changed had I had the power back.

Adam Lamb:

But I also know a bunch of guys that men and women who in this industry

Adam Lamb:

who loved bitch, you know, and they'd be the first one to talk about why

Adam Lamb:

things suck and why the place sucks and why the customers suck and why

Adam Lamb:

the bosses suck and da, da, da, da.

Adam Lamb:

I see it all the time on Facebook and my.

Adam Lamb:

Deep desire is that they have their own awakening and realize

Adam Lamb:

that they're the only ones that have the power to change anything.

Adam Lamb:

So when you talk about stuff like being good to your life, I need to know

Adam Lamb:

exactly like in concrete terms, what that looks like, because I know how

Adam Lamb:

everything's energetically connected.

Adam Lamb:

You don't, you, you you're, you're preaching to the choir right now,

Adam Lamb:

but there's a bunch of people out there who probably need this message

Adam Lamb:

more than, uh, anything else in their life right now, because.

Adam Lamb:

You know, either you're gonna be a victim or you're gonna be a leader.

Adam Lamb:

And I, I believe there's greatness in, in everybody that's in this industry

Adam Lamb:

and or the capacity, they have greatness about something, some particular thing,

Adam Lamb:

and I wanna encourage them to get in and get their fucking work done.

Adam Lamb:

So what do you mean by being good to your life?

James Shirley:

What I mean by that is first of all, you know, acceptance is

James Shirley:

the key for anything and, and you gotta be able to accept where you're at and.

James Shirley:

I mean, you touched on a lot of, a lot of things because we live

James Shirley:

in a world that's kind of a, a pseudo masochistic relationship.

James Shirley:

We, we, we go through a lot of abuse from our employer, from our customers,

James Shirley:

from our families, from everybody else.

James Shirley:

To not only put bread on the table, but to do what we do well and show up

James Shirley:

every day, it's like leaving the dungeon and showing up again for the next day.

James Shirley:

You just gotta know what the safe word is to get out, you know?

James Shirley:

And, and, and I always, I always use the analogy of being, being in

James Shirley:

a culinary world is like a, like a pseudo masochistic relationship.

James Shirley:

You just gotta know when to say ouch or when to get out,

James Shirley:

because if you don't, you'll.

James Shirley:

You know, you'll just, you you'll implode.

James Shirley:

You'll self destru.

James Shirley:

I mean, now we are reading and hearing about some of our world's

James Shirley:

most admired culinary people ending their lives or lives coming to an

James Shirley:

end or, or falling the fall from grace is very painful and very long.

James Shirley:

And if you don't have humil.

James Shirley:

As a key, then the fall will be even worse.

James Shirley:

You know, I live every day with the mantra in my head that I'm

James Shirley:

as only good as my last meal.

James Shirley:

I don't care who I fed, how well it went on my resume and my pedigree, if I

James Shirley:

fucked up a barbecue with hot dogs for five kids, then I gotta live with that.

James Shirley:

All as only good as my last meal.

James Shirley:

And, and, and that could be the catalyst that a GM or an executive or

James Shirley:

somebody come raining down, fire on us.

James Shirley:

That'll turn our whole world upside down and I'll walk off

James Shirley:

without humility with saying.

James Shirley:

What big, no big deals.

James Shirley:

Just some kids.

James Shirley:

It was hot dogs.

James Shirley:

Why are you tripping?

James Shirley:

You know, why are you having a fit about it?

James Shirley:

But it was the CEO's kid that was, there was the president's

James Shirley:

kid, somebody else's kid.

James Shirley:

And then I'm saying in my head, why is this guy talking to me?

James Shirley:

I'm doesn't he know who I am.

James Shirley:

You know, the question is, is, do I know who I am?

James Shirley:

You know?

James Shirley:

And, and that.

James Shirley:

We suffer with a lot of in frailties and things that happen for us.

James Shirley:

And that the number one thing that eludes us in our industry is balance.

James Shirley:

And that I have to, at some point know when to tap out.

James Shirley:

You know, after 10 and 12 hours, knowing that it'll be there tomorrow, I've

James Shirley:

watched too many of us burn up and crash because success is driving us.

James Shirley:

And I refuse to be behind a deadline because I didn't have the menu written.

James Shirley:

I didn't have the, the menu cost it out in time.

James Shirley:

I didn't, I didn't have people, you know, and, and granted you.

James Shirley:

Good bosses.

James Shirley:

And then you got bosses who are not good.

James Shirley:

And when you got people that you can't say, Hey, I didn't get it done today.

James Shirley:

I'm sorry.

James Shirley:

I'll get it done tomorrow.

James Shirley:

And you can explain to that why it didn't happen.

James Shirley:

You know, time management.

James Shirley:

I, I started off, we started off talking about time management and talking

James Shirley:

about how I, my wife has poor time management and, uh, and, and, and, and,

James Shirley:

and it impedes and it, I wasn't gonna

Adam Lamb:

bring that up.

Adam Lamb:

I was gonna edit that out, man.

James Shirley:

Okay.

James Shirley:

Hey,

Adam Lamb:

I was gonna edit that out.

Adam Lamb:

That's we're gonna include that.

Adam Lamb:

It's

Adam Lamb:

too

James Shirley:

late.

James Shirley:

That's out the, Hey, it's no news to it.

James Shirley:

It's, it's no secret.

James Shirley:

It's no news to her, but she's my muse, you know, let me,

James Shirley:

let me say this, you know?

James Shirley:

Yeah.

James Shirley:

This is my second marriage and to take my wife through what I've taken her.

James Shirley:

I mean, she's worked her weight and goal because being married to somebody

James Shirley:

like us, or even in a relationship with somebody like us, you gotta examine

James Shirley:

their psyche and ask them because they gotta know what they're signing up for.

James Shirley:

They gotta know that I'll say I'll be back and I may not come back until tomorrow.

James Shirley:

They gotta understand.

James Shirley:

You know, when I say I promise we were going.

James Shirley:

Hey, I'm sorry.

James Shirley:

You know, party VIP pop up.

James Shirley:

I gotta do it.

James Shirley:

Can we go later?

James Shirley:

You know, um, we, we, we live with a lot of broken promises and at

James Shirley:

some point we have to learn how to balance that, to make good on that

James Shirley:

in our, in our, in our, in our lives.

James Shirley:

That's what I talk about, you know, my life.

James Shirley:

Isn't good.

James Shirley:

I'm good to my life.

James Shirley:

I've started to do a lot of different things.

James Shirley:

Like, like for instance, uh, we don't wanna talk about getting.

James Shirley:

You know, we think that's, we think that's, uh, taboo for chefs to talk about

James Shirley:

having a therapist, getting some mental health, mental health dominates our

James Shirley:

industry because we're these brilliants with, uh, food and astronomy engineers.

James Shirley:

And we're these Arian and where these Epicuren and where these.

James Shirley:

Brilliant food minds.

James Shirley:

And they don't know what goes on behind that.

James Shirley:

You know, it's like being a Robin Williams of, of a SCO being a part, Robin Williams

James Shirley:

and part of SC, you know what I'm saying?

James Shirley:

It it's like, nobody knows what goes on line of a genius when they have to

James Shirley:

show up and perform every day, you know?

James Shirley:

And, and the pressure behind that, you know, um, nobody knows what

James Shirley:

happens with us when, I mean, how many chefs did you know.

James Shirley:

That have had one marriage, you know, or that are still married.

James Shirley:

You know, how many chefs that you know, that are willing to admit.

James Shirley:

They weren't there for the, the kids' graduation, the kids prime,

James Shirley:

the kids, this, this, this, because they were at work at some high end

James Shirley:

dinner or something else going on.

James Shirley:

How many chefs, you know, that's going to admit they got a drinking problem.

James Shirley:

They got a, they got an addiction.

James Shirley:

They got a substance abuse problem.

James Shirley:

Or if it's not that they got some other dark secret, because after

James Shirley:

leaving work, you gotta find an avenue to feed this monster.

James Shirley:

That's going raging on the inside.

James Shirley:

Cause you kept your cool all day.

James Shirley:

You didn't punch anybody out.

James Shirley:

You didn't cuss out your boss.

James Shirley:

You know, you didn't kick, you didn't have a, a, a, a Gordon Ramsey moment

James Shirley:

and, and insult people and shove.

James Shirley:

I remember chefs would come in and just shove your fucking meas applause

James Shirley:

off the counter on the floor.

James Shirley:

Not just because you screwed up, but because we were having a bad

James Shirley:

day and they had to have some kind of way to take it out on someone.

James Shirley:

So let me take it out on my kitchen.

Adam Lamb:

So you bring up really great points again, but here's,

Adam Lamb:

here's the piece that's missing.

Adam Lamb:

And you start off by talking about, you know, it's not necessarily,

Adam Lamb:

it's frowned upon to talk about the fact that you, you know, you might,

Adam Lamb:

uh, you might need some help with the way you're processing things.

Adam Lamb:

The fact of the matter is when you're creative and I, and we can be

Adam Lamb:

creative in lots of different ways, you know, we can be creative and.

Adam Lamb:

Planning the execution of a banquet, not necessarily the food, but how you

Adam Lamb:

get all the components put together.

Adam Lamb:

I mean, sometimes all the pieces are moving around in your head and you can't

Adam Lamb:

even explain to anybody how you come to this point, but you just know it's right.

Adam Lamb:

And I, I just wanna remind everybody, because I think we forget about

Adam Lamb:

this because we get caught.

Adam Lamb:

So caught up in the bullshit is that we're all very, very, very,

Adam Lamb:

very fucking sensitive people in a world that doesn't really fucking

Adam Lamb:

appreciate sensitive people.

Adam Lamb:

So, what the fuck are you supposed to do with that?

Adam Lamb:

Well, the first thing is acknowledge the fact that you're

Adam Lamb:

sensitive, nothing wrong with that.

Adam Lamb:

Doesn't make you any less than, or more than doesn't make you any

Adam Lamb:

more artistic or less artistic.

Adam Lamb:

But if you're not like in your truth about who you are.

Adam Lamb:

So that's one of the things I love about you, James so much is like, there is no

Adam Lamb:

fucking pretense about, you know, you own every single fucking bit of you, you

Adam Lamb:

know, you own your work ethic, you own the circumstances that you find yourself in.

Adam Lamb:

You don't ever, I've never heard.

Adam Lamb:

Throw anybody under the fucking bus, other than to say, you know,

Adam Lamb:

that dude's an asshole, right.

Adam Lamb:

But you never made it up that, you know, they were keeping

Adam Lamb:

you for any, anything else.

Adam Lamb:

So the fact is that once I acknowledged the fact that I was, you know, sensitive,

Adam Lamb:

which is weird because I'm a big dude and people don't expect that to be

Adam Lamb:

coming out, but at least it gave me an, uh, a way to access a healing.

Adam Lamb:

That before was, you know, I couldn't show any weakness or tenderness or compassion

Adam Lamb:

or vulnerability or transparency to anybody, especially in the brigade.

Adam Lamb:

Fuck that, man, because I need you to jump.

Adam Lamb:

What, how high we chef?

Adam Lamb:

Okay.

Adam Lamb:

Now let's go.

Adam Lamb:

When, in fact it took me probably, uh, shit, man, probably, uh, probably

Adam Lamb:

15, 18 years before I recognized.

Adam Lamb:

That I hire and manage whole human beings, not just a fucking name on the schedule

Adam Lamb:

and the, and the quicker I get hit to that so that I can be with them where they're

Adam Lamb:

at the better the whole organization runs.

Adam Lamb:

But, you know, I had to take, I had to take away this dude's

Adam Lamb:

pride once in the office.

Adam Lamb:

I fuck, man makes me so fucking embarrassed to talk about this, but

Adam Lamb:

you know, his happy go lucky dude.

Adam Lamb:

And you know, he just, every everywhere he went.

Adam Lamb:

You know, things were, things were on fire around him, you know, it just, he

Adam Lamb:

found himself in the worst situations.

Adam Lamb:

And I brought him into the office and just tore him down verbally, man.

Adam Lamb:

And he dropped to his knees and started screaming out.

Adam Lamb:

And I thought to myself, holy fuck, what have I done?

Adam Lamb:

Because I know you talk about people like storm and Norman and some other

Adam Lamb:

people that we've known you take away.

Adam Lamb:

Person's dignity.

Adam Lamb:

Then they're capable of doing anything then.

Adam Lamb:

And it wasn't that I was scared of my, my safety, but I just saw

Adam Lamb:

just how fucking wrong I was for a lot of years to a lot of people.

Adam Lamb:

And there's nothing I can ever do to take that back or make it better, but

Adam Lamb:

I can certainly try to do something.

Adam Lamb:

With that acknowledgement and that realization, which is, uh, you

Adam Lamb:

know, carve out a path forward with a new way of thinking and a

Adam Lamb:

new way of being in this industry.

Adam Lamb:

That's possible for all of us, because I think probably you included and you,

Adam Lamb:

you can agree you or not agree with me.

Adam Lamb:

It's how, it's how we all wanted to be treated.

Adam Lamb:

You know, none of us wanted to be treated like shit and have the fucking chef come

Adam Lamb:

off, fucking dump our knees on the fucking floor because it's having a bad day.

Adam Lamb:

Fuck that.

James Shirley:

I gotta tell you, Adam, what you're doing

James Shirley:

and what you've done with this.

James Shirley:

If nobody's told you from our community, I wanna thank you because

James Shirley:

you opened up some boundaries and some doors, man, for us to get nitty

James Shirley:

gritty and talk about exact nature.

James Shirley:

What really goes on about what, what really happens.

James Shirley:

You know, I don't know if you're aware of what you've done

James Shirley:

and, and, and how you've done.

James Shirley:

Know, to what capacity, you know, how you've impacted us, man, you

James Shirley:

know, you've given us a vehicle that we wouldn't normally have in

James Shirley:

a real world setting to talk about.

James Shirley:

And this is this, this isn't the trash, the organization show this

James Shirley:

isn't the, the employer show.

James Shirley:

Isn't the, the cook.

James Shirley:

This is a, a, a vehicle for us to tell our side of this story.

James Shirley:

Like it really is, you know, and tell like, we, like you say, tell it like it

James Shirley:

is, you know, you know, I love you, man.

James Shirley:

Um, we've been through so many things together, man.

James Shirley:

You you've always been my brother from another mother, man.

James Shirley:

You know, we've always, uh, you've always been there.

James Shirley:

I've been so proud to watch you evolve as well to go through

James Shirley:

what you're going through, man, and what you've been through.

James Shirley:

Uh, and, and.

James Shirley:

You know, you're, you're, you're, you're like the raft in a fume, you

James Shirley:

know, you're always rise to the top, you know, you're, you're like that raft

James Shirley:

in a fume, you know, you, you rise, you rise to the top, you know, you're like,

James Shirley:

you're like letting that slow roll go.

James Shirley:

And you just skim off the top, man.

James Shirley:

And each, each time you skim off a, another layer of the top, like

James Shirley:

a fume, it gets more pristine.

James Shirley:

You could see to the bottom of it.

James Shirley:

You know, we always, we, those of us.

James Shirley:

Had that, you know, pedigree that, that, that level, that level of

James Shirley:

technique we've learned that a good fume is that you could see yeah.

James Shirley:

Who, who know how to make it.

James Shirley:

You, you could, you could look through, you could look all

James Shirley:

the way down to the bottom.

James Shirley:

It's pristine, it's clear, but all the flavor is there, man.

James Shirley:

And that's what you've done, you know?

James Shirley:

And, and it's like, For us to be still connected after so many people

James Shirley:

that have fallen off the face of the earth that we've known together that

James Shirley:

have disappeared that have vanished.

James Shirley:

I mean, we've known people who crashed and burned, you know, I, I gotta give

James Shirley:

homage to those who paved the way before me, you know, you know, that have, have

James Shirley:

struggled internally and, and not been able to get the help or say anything.

James Shirley:

You know, uh, like a Anthony Bourdain, you know, you know, like a Charlie Trotter,

James Shirley:

you know, there, you know, there's people who are out there that are not the Anthony

James Shirley:

Bourdain and Charlie trots who are just as good and who are behind the scenes

James Shirley:

and they don't get the recognition.

James Shirley:

They don't.

James Shirley:

I mean, nobody would know that I fed co Powell and, and,

James Shirley:

and, and Gobi off and Bush.

James Shirley:

You, you know, and, and, and Christine Lagar of the international monetary

James Shirley:

fund and, you know, all, I mean, we could to off all these people, but,

James Shirley:

but nobody could, nobody in a million years would know that, you know, and

James Shirley:

something I started doing is that I would always wear my chef coat to work,

James Shirley:

you know, and back and forth because I just walk in the door ready to go.

James Shirley:

And my wife said to me, Why, why, why do you not just want to be a

James Shirley:

human being when you get off of work?

James Shirley:

Why is it that you're a chef 24 7?

James Shirley:

I don't, you know, and she helped me with this.

James Shirley:

So I got like pull over sweats and, you know, you know, I got

James Shirley:

some long sleeve tees that I wear to work and I changed my, I.

James Shirley:

I get into that, you know, I gotta remember when I'm at home

James Shirley:

and my wife's cooking me a meal.

James Shirley:

I'm not the chef, I'm her husband.

James Shirley:

You know, um, if my kids wanna take me to dinner, I'm not the chef.

James Shirley:

You know, I try my best to, you know, sit in the seat and be patient with the

James Shirley:

poor service, the cold mashed potatoes or whatever happens, you know, I'm not gonna

James Shirley:

let anything happen on my watch either.

James Shirley:

If I'm out.

James Shirley:

My family and friends in the service and the food is not right.

James Shirley:

I mean, we are the worst people to die with the worst people to go

James Shirley:

out to dinner with, you know, cause we're picking everything apart, man.

James Shirley:

But, um, back back to how much I love you, Adam Lamb and how proud I am of you, man.

James Shirley:

You know, I, I, I told a few people about this and, and I gotta give shouts out

James Shirley:

to my, my D my, my senior management.

James Shirley:

It's been a long time coming since I worked not only in a place that

James Shirley:

anybody would love to work at, but to work around and work with people.

James Shirley:

I love going to work with every day, man.

James Shirley:

I could truly say my, my boss is my work sister work wife, you know?

James Shirley:

Um, my, my district manager is my work big brother, my confidant,

James Shirley:

my friend, you know, I have a supporting management team around me.

James Shirley:

You know, the organization that I work for, I've been

James Shirley:

working for for a long time.

James Shirley:

They have been great and not all organizations get it.

James Shirley:

Right.

James Shirley:

I mean, Hey, they make some bad decisions along the way, too, you know?

James Shirley:

And it impacts people at every level, you know?

James Shirley:

Um, but they've done right by me, you know, and they've done well, you know,

James Shirley:

and, uh, you know, I I'm, I'm, I've been blessed, man, this whole journey.

James Shirley:

You know, uh, I've been blessed.

James Shirley:

I thought I was gonna try to get through this without crying.

James Shirley:

Cause I'm a cry baby.

James Shirley:

And, um, I'm, I'm real sensitive, you know, but, uh, you know, seriously, man,

James Shirley:

I, I, when I look at, I, I'm sitting here and on that side of me is diamond head,

James Shirley:

you know, and on this side of me is the ocean and I grew up riding the L to.

James Shirley:

When I, when this all started, I was riding the mean green limousine.

James Shirley:

I was riding CTA and one

Adam Lamb:

11 in cottage Grove.

Adam Lamb:

Yep.

James Shirley:

Yep.

James Shirley:

Over there on king drive.

Adam Lamb:

Right.

Adam Lamb:

Thank you, man.

Adam Lamb:

Um, and you know, you, you made, um, my point for me really, because,

Adam Lamb:

um, I've had this ongoing argument with, um, somebody I love very dearly

Adam Lamb:

about, you know, when you're a chef, that's, that's who you are and.

Adam Lamb:

Shot back is always like that's bullshit.

Adam Lamb:

You know, as, as long as you identify with being a chef, like as who I am,

Adam Lamb:

um, then you're liable to put yourself in situations that are not healthy both

Adam Lamb:

mentally, physically, or emotionally.

Adam Lamb:

And so I would tag on with what you said, James.

Adam Lamb:

And so maybe a shift of perspective is identifying yourself as a human

Adam Lamb:

being that has needs and, and desires.

Adam Lamb:

And.

Adam Lamb:

Sometimes just want to go get a fucking pedicure.

Adam Lamb:

I love pedicures, man.

Adam Lamb:

This is

James Shirley:

fantastic.

Adam Lamb:

that's it.

Adam Lamb:

For this episode of chef life radio.

Adam Lamb:

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Sunshine, more compassion, less cutthroat island.

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Fuck you finally.

Adam Lamb:

Consider for a second where all the blood, sweat, and sometimes

Adam Lamb:

even tears we put into what we do really at the end of the day, that's

Adam Lamb:

just some brown stuff on a plate.

Adam Lamb:

None of it really matters.

Adam Lamb:

It doesn't define you as a person or make you any more

Adam Lamb:

special or less than anyone else.

Adam Lamb:

It's just a dance we're engaged in.

Adam Lamb:

So we might as well laugh and enjoy every bit of it.

Adam Lamb:

Even the crappy parts while we're doing it, or didn't, you know, that the purpose

Adam Lamb:

of your life should be to enjoy it.

James Shirley:

Like it happy.

James Shirley:

I love it.

James Shirley:

I'm humble.

James Shirley:

Goddamn glory.

James Shirley:

Don't.

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Oh yes.

Adam Lamb:

Chef stand tall and frosty brothers and sisters until next time be well.

Adam Lamb:

And do good.

Adam Lamb:

Leave the light on honey.

Adam Lamb:

I'm coming home late.

Adam Lamb:

This show was produced, recorded and edited by me, Adam Lamb at the dish

Adam Lamb:

pit studios in Baro North Carolina.

Adam Lamb:

This has been a production of realignment video.