Friday, December 30, 2011


I'm always surprised by how fast a year of one's life can fly by.  Never was that more apparent for me than in 2011.  Looking back, I can attest that 2011 was probably one of the best years of my life.  It was a year filled with many, many highs  - and a few lows - which I'm beginning to realize is simply the way I like to live.  Sure, I could eliminate some of the disappointments if I didn't always swing for the fences, but at the same time, I'd never get my shot at the big leagues.

I prefer to accept the lows for what they are - drowned in a bit of whiskey of course!  For years, I've focused on the word Persistence, and it is my firm belief that this quality is the most important in relation to dealing with all of life's affairs.

Nevertheless, I can ultimately admit that this year was a positively huge success - and I am always amazed at what God continues to provide and teach me.  Overall, it seems that when I lose my focus on him and try to force my own plans into action - things always tend to unravel.  It's in the moments when I am completely trusting and working in the right direction that he reveals all of the goodness in the world.   

January was a thrill!  Coming off a nod from The New York Times for writing one of the year's best cookbooks, I was invited to join Kathie Lee and Hoda on the TODAY Show for a romantic cooking segment.  They were hilarious, awesome, and . . . inquisitive!  The segment turned out fantastic, but the most special part was having the support of my family and friends in NYC and everywhere else.  In fact, this was the first time my parents had ever visited the Big Apple, and that was probably my favorite memory of this wonderful experience.  Nothing makes life better than sharing great times with the people you love.
Goofing around with Kathie Lee and Hoda.
I remained pretty busy in February with another trip up to NYC to promote a Valentine's Day segment on Fox & Friends.  Again, another great segment, and I had a special time hanging out with friends Bobby and Rachel in Brooklyn.  After that, it was off to LA for more meetings - and some romance, haha.  I also did my first bout of snowboarding - which may or may not have resulted in a broken rib.  I'll get there - one day.

March - June seems like much of a blur to me now.  After the success of my first book, I decided to sign with a great literary agent and try my hand again at the traditional publishing business.  Well, my timing probably could have been better.  The news of BORDERS closing and the increased popularity of digital readers sort of put most literary houses on hold for the time being.  After spending months working out the details of my proposal, My agent and I worked diligently to find the right home - and we were close, but ultimately we decided to hold off for a bit and let the storm subside.  It was disappointing -  but I know it was also a smart decision.  More on this in 2012!
This keeps me awake while writing book proposals!
In July, I decided it was time to get back out there!  Too much time behind a computer typing away makes Jack a dull boy.  I had the pleasure of spending 10 days in PEI Canada as a chef/musician/guest of the Cavendish Beach Music Festival.  It was just what I needed.  A special thanks to Chris and Kevin Meyer for believing in the 'formula' of having a chef entertainer at a music festival.  Fortunately - it worked!  The festival (and my role) turned out to be a huge success.  Moreover, I was completely taken away with the beauty of PEI and the friendliness of its people.  After months of rejection, it was incredible to be surrounded by such great people in such a wonderful setting.  I honestly cannot wait for next year - and the debut of the 'formula' to more festivals across the country.
The beautiful, rolling landscape of PEI
Serving up hundreds of pounds of local, fresh ingredients.
My partner in crime
August brought about new opportunities in the television world.  Through a Nashville connection, I was put in touch with on of the better known production companies in NYC, and we signed a deal to create, produce, and sell our on TV Show!

September - lots of college football, and another trip up to PEI for the fall flavors festival.  A special thanks to Mark, Ross, George, and Corey for showing me just how much fun PEI can be during the fall.  Oh, and thanks to Charles for capturing pictures our street festival cook off where I showed islanders that charcoal - and local skirt steak  - are king when it comes to building great flavors.
Table side prep w/ Corey.
In the line of fire!
October - hmmm, what did I do in October?  I believe that was a month filled with even more travel.  Greensboro, LA, ATL, Athens, and Playa del Carmen!  I must say, there's nothing better than gorging oneself in Mexico with all of your family when its just starting to turn cold in the states.  It was a fantastic vacation!
Enjoying the good life in Mexico
November - an incredible wedding for a close friend in Savannah, GA, including a reunion show with my guys in OverflO!
Jam session with the talented drummer/sous chef/groom.
Then came disappointment.  A week out from the NYC shoot for the television show, production was suddenly cancelled.  Oh well, it is what it is.  I could sulk, bitch, and moan, but at the end of the day I know that everything will come together in due time.  After a few Woodford + Cokes, I was off to my next adventure - whatever that may be!

Turns out the next adventure came quickly.  A 'side business' created with myself and two friends suddenly hit the big time!  We found ourselves scrambling to fill orders to meet the overwhelming demand of our 'grassroots' fragrance - MOONSHINE; a gentleman's cologne.  Turns out we were right - men like to wear cologne.  But, we don't need a celebrity or a half-naked man to sell it to us.  What a concept? 
MOONSHINE; a gentleman's cologne
And finally, December.  Another fantastic trip out to LA brought about new opportunities for 2012 in the TV and book world.  My long run in my beloved neighborhood of Germantown (Nashville, TN) came to a close with a move to a new hood.  I HATE moving - but change is the only constant in life.  I will now call 12th S. home for a while - so if you see me gaining pounds from eating too much at Burger Up, please let me know.  But most importantly, I ended my year with the way it started - surrounded by family with great food, drinks, and love.

Cheers to you and yours, and wishing you all much success in 2012.

Keep Peaceful!


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