Chef Marla

Author archive

Memorial Day 2018

It’s 2018 and for 49 years, on each and every Memorial Day, I think about a young classmate from Churchill Rd Elementary School in McLean, Virginia.  We were in 5th grade.  He was a friendly young kid, but we weren’t close friends.  He had a plethora of brothers, sisters and cousins in our school and […]

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Flunking Retirement

I’ve written a couple long letters over the last few years about hiring a Manager, Chef, etc.  I wrote how I wanted to learn the names of the plants in my yard, travel with my husband, read more, get in shape, write more…. In October last year, I found myself ironing sheets on a Saturday […]

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Dear James…Southbend

Dear James, I hope you can help me.  I have a Southbend cheesemelter that I purchased in 1997, used.  It is a “double wild”.  It has worked well until this last year or so.  Been having problems with the burner staying lit on the left side.  My regular repair guy comes in and cleans out the lines and it works […]

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July 4th. An owner’s holiday.

Usually I join everyone for 4th of July festivities.  But this year I did the restaurant owner thing.  We were closed Monday, as usual and now closed on Tuesday since it’s the 4th.  Monday I went in around noon to do some sprucing up.  I had just been on vacation the week before and thought […]

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Not your mama’s Apple Store…

I enjoyed a lovely day off in my garden on Sunday.  Really, I am just moving plants around right now.  Plants I put in last April ended up with the wrong kind of sun later in the year.  I had been listening to a pod cast of All Things Considered with my headphones when my […]

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A Comedy…..

I ordered a new work top freezer for the restaurant kitchen in January.  Our old one was starting to suffer and the repair man kept shaking his head.  There were things he just couldn’t fix. It has been a work horse in our kitchen for close to 20 years.  It is referred to as the […]

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Today marks 24 years.

Babette’s Cafe opened 24 years ago tonight.  Seems like yesterday…. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years, some of you since the beginning.  No, we’re NOT closing.  Babette’s continues to bring me joy, pride and challenges.  But I am trying to step back a little bit and I’m finding it harder than […]

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it’s all in the details….

When do you add the garlic to the dish? How you sort the heirloom baby carrots by size so they cook evenly and can be used best on each dish? Which light bulb goes over the tables (50 watt, 12 degree spot) and which shines on the artwork on the walls (35 watt, 20 degree […]

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Hire a Lighting Designer.

I didn’t do this until several years after I opened the new location. Thought I couldn’t afford it. Thought the architect would take care of it. I was $30,000.00 over budget with change orders and we were three months behind with a contractor who was not paying his subs. Maybe I couldn’t have spared the money and the […]

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New Linens

Our linen company (Company #1) was bought out recently by another company. Most linen companies work on a par level which means the restaurant sets how much of each kind of napkin, cleaning towels, tables cloths we will need each week. We use cotton napkins, bar towels, 42 inch table cloths, 52 inch table cloths, 62 […]

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