If you’re like me, you’re home alone on Valentine’s Day… Instead of getting upset about it, I thought I’d try my hand at finding you.

Hi, I’m Kerilyn Russo.
 Self portrait 130212

If you’ve come here, you’re probably connected to someone in the restaurant industry (in my case I’m married to an Executive Chef). I created this site, initially, as a response to my own need to connect with all of you.

If anyone knows how challenging it can be, how fun at times too, and how to make it through…

It’s YOU.

This kind of relationship is different than most, and it can be difficult to navigate when no one around you understands. I wanted a place where we all spoke the same language.

About Married to a Chef

In order to share with you how this website got its start, I have to tell you a story. Let me take you back…..

Valentines Day… 2009

My then-fiancee and Executive Chef, Peter Russo, was getting ready for work that day. It was a Saturday so I was home. As a 9-5’r, I work the Monday-Friday 9-5 shift like most of you.

Being that it was Valentines Day, I looked forward to doing something with my soon to be husband. This was going to be our last Valentines Day before we got married, so it was really important to me. Even though I was hopeful to spend some romantic time with him that day…

I knew better.

I knew that it was Valentine’s Day, one of the busiest days in the restaurant industry. I’d been with him long enough to understand that, but it didn’t ease my disappointment or frustration at the fact that, YET AGAIN, I was solo on Valentine’s Day. So what did I do…?

I caused an argument.

Yep. I asked him what our plans were that day to which he responded… “Honey, I’ve got 300+ on the books tonite, so I’m not going to be home ’til late.”

I knew this, but I guess I just wanted to feel important. He was busy getting ready for work, so I knew he was focused on leaving, which just made me feel unseen in that moment. SO… I said…(wanting to make a point):

“Why don’t you ask (insert chefs name who was married with kids) how he “does it”, being married to someone in this industry, how HE handles Valentine’s Day!”

And my now husband, a man of few words but usually those words are very wise said….

“Why don’t you ask his wife!”

Picture by http://www.deloyartzphoto.com/

It stopped me in my tracks… I couldn’t argue with him. WHY am I arguing with my fiancee when he has NO idea what I’m going though… He’s right! I have to talk to his wife!

As soon as he left that day, I sat down at the computer, with the mission of finding other significant others that I could connect to. I mean, there HAS to be someone else to understand how it SUCKS that I’m home alone on Valentine’s Day! I found a couple articles online as well as the blog, Desparate Chefs’ Wives. As I dove into it, it absolutely helped me not feel so alone (THANK YOU Hilary!) , but I wanted MORE… I wanted to be able to actually TALK with you all, I wanted to MEET you. So I decided…

If I cannot find what I want, I’ll create it myself!

I wanted this to be MORE than just a blog; a platform of support from which people can pick and choose what they need to feel supported. Most importantly, I wanted us all to be able to  actually connect with each other, to speak to one another. I wanted to create a place for US!

Within hours, I registered the domain name and knew that when the time was right (I was thinking after our wedding in September) I would begin the process of building this site for us!

About me

As I think about what you would want to know about me, a bulleted list of factoids begins to appear:

  • You pronounce my name as if you were saying two words Keri and lyn, just together – Kerilyn!
  • I am married to Peter Russo, the Executive Chef/Director at the 700 Cooking School at The Mansion at Forsyth Park in Savannah,GA.  He’s been a chef since 2000 and an EC for seven.
  • On October 30th, 2013, my husband and I welcomed our first child, Leonardo (but you can call him Leo) into our family.
  • In May 2014, my little family made the trek from the Washington DC Metro area (where we’d been since 1999) to Savannah,GA *a dream of mine!
  • I am a New Year’s Eve baby.
  • I am a tall drink of water (6′-1″ to be exact)
  • I am an Interior Designer by trade (graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, 1999)
  • I am a Certified Professional Life Coach
  • As a little girl, my dream was to be a psychologist, living in Italy.
  • I am absolutely one of those people who feels like I have to do something meaningful with my life. A life (and a career) with purpose is my mission. Usually that leaves me feeling restless and a bit daydream-y. (A wistful dreamer I call myself)
  • I have bohemian and hippie-like tendencies, mixed in with a handful of sophisticated and old fashioned values.
  • I am a sensitive soul, moved quite easily by things that evoke emotion.
  • I married my husband/chef on September 26th, 2009 (Our wedding was featured in The Washington Post – see here!) *Just celebrated our fourth year anniversary!
  • I am absolutely a planner by nature (not one who takes to acts of spontaneity very well)
  • I’m a city girl at heart (with a love for the South as well)
  • My favorite music is reggae
  • I am a Chatty Cathy by nature!
  • I am a creature of habit, and can (and have) enjoy eating the same thing, over and over.
  • I cannot tell you what my favorite food is, I have so many favorites! (Indian/Thai/Pho/BREAKFAST/Moms Meatloaf/Hubbys Chili, the list goes on!)

On integrating Married to a Chef with my little girl dream

Sooo…two months before our wedding, the company I worked for, at a job I truly enjoyed, suddenly went bankrupt (without ANY warning), leaving me unemployed and feeling quite lost as to what my next step was. I haven’t had the smoothest of journeys in my career (multiple layoffs, never feeling like the right fit, now bankruptcy), I knew I wanted to do something different with my life, I just didn’t know what. From the time I was a little girl, I always felt a calling to make a difference, to help others ‘feel heard’….So, the day when my now husband took me on a drive, get me out of the house to help me clear my head, I asked him…

“What do you think I should do with the rest of my life?”, to which he replied…

“I think you should do what you’ve always wanted to do… help people.”  (Is this man wise or what?)

Well, that day changed my life.

Within a few days, I was serendipitously made aware of what a Life Coach does, and how it reconnects me to my little girl dream. NATURALLY it became clear that all the pieces were fitting into place. I was already planning to create Married to a Chef to connect with others in the same shoes as me (YOU), but NOW… I also wanted to reconnect with my little girl dream of helping others, by becoming a Life coach! It seemed SO clear!

After six months of being unemployed, I rejoined the work force with a new mission: FOLLOW MY DREAMS! … to build Married to a Chef, and when I was able, to enroll in a Life Coaching program! Within a few months, I put up a ‘Coming Soon’ page on the website and almost immediately people were signing up to ‘Stay Tuned’ for the launch, from ALL over the world!! Africa, Australia, New Zealand! I just KNEW there was a need. My dear friend and talented artist, created what was to be the logo for Married to a Chef. I even wrote a guest post on Desparate Chefss Wives, to share my exciting news about the launch. (see here)… I was on my way!

My final bit of Serendipity happened just a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, 2011. Back in mid 2010, I wrote a letter to every single person in the Food section of The Washington Post. I introduced myself and shared the mission of Married to a Chef. Seven letters I wrote, alas, I did not hear a thing….

UNTIL… about two weeks prior to Valentines Day. I got a call from the Post. They wanted to do a story about what it’s like being married to a chef, on Valentines Day!! AND… they wanted to feature Peter and I!! What? Is this dejavu? Well I saw this as a sign that Valentine’s Day was THE day we were supposed to launch. (The article came out February 8th, 2011 – see it here!) My dear friend (and talented web designer) Kyra and I BUSTED out I would say 50% of this site in two weeks! I think I needed this amazing opportunity to help push me forward because as of 5pm on February 14th, 2011, Married to a Chef launched and within MINUTES… you were creating profiles and connecting to others! It was the manifestation of a DREAM that ALL stemmed from an argument that happened two years earlier!!!

Crazy, I know!

To round things off, as of July 2011, I am OFFICIALLY Certified as a Life Coach and I can say my coaching practice has begun to take off! What better way to help others move forward but to begin with a strong understanding of WHERE their at. I know what it’s like, I know how it’s both exciting and frustrating at the same time! Now I have the tools to help others move from where they are… to where they want to be.

*I KNOW it’s not always easy being someone in the restaurant industry. I REALLY do understand.

Here’s the rub, though – once you know what being with someone in this industry entails.. it’s up to YOU to find out

  • If it works for you
  • HOW you can make it work
  • How you can maneuver through the rough patches.

It is my desire (and my obsession) to help you with that.