On this day...my late, great mother was brought into this world 82 years ago. She left us almost 20 years ago. Too soon...too sad...too unfortunate. She helped many. She inspired hundreds and touched thousands through her outreach and work to help others. Most importantly(to me)...she helped and inspired me. Her only son. A punk, a little shit, a hellion who she loved. She always, always showed me, way beyond what I thought was possible. She always put me before herself...and now being a father...I know what that is all about. I am ever so grateful. She taught me so much and gave so much of herself that it has crafted the man who I am today. Some may say she either taught me wrongly or maybe that I didn't pay attention, but all the good in me is from her. I will probably never fully realize what she did for me or the impact she has had until much later in life. I only hope that I could perhaps someday live up to at least half of what she was as a person. All that I am or hope to be I owe to her. She was my world. She taught me to love and respect food...respect people...respect life, nature and the world. I do. I became passionate about food and cooking as that was her love as well. Although not a chef, she was an excellent cook! She inspired me beyond belief. She helped me get into cooking school. Made it possible for me to continue to explore and research, develop my craft, experience a dream, and follow my heart. I always loved and looked forward to have her come visit me at each of the places I worked, to dine and show everyone how proud she was of her only son. Thank you mom. I would never be the person I am without you. The chef who I am today is based on the foundation of what you taught me over the years. She taught me about something else that is even more important than my cooking...and that is the importance of loving and caring for your child. Letting them know that they are cherished, respected and held high on a parents pedestal. Having that, it enabled me to be confident and succeed in life and hopefully be a good parent. It gave me the much needed guidance in trying to raise my own boys. I can only be so fortunate. So, it is in recognition of this special day, that I wish you a happy birthday, and am knowing that you are in a peaceful place watching over us, continuing to give guidance, inspiration and your spiritual presence. God bless.