In part three of our Father's Day Chef series we speak with Chef Chris Starkus of The Urban Farmer. Chef Starkus discusses making uninterrupted quality time with his family and not bringing chef life home with him.
Father’s Day is coming up, what does Father’s Day mean to you and your family?
Father’s day is really special to me. Both of my kids where born at home and I was the first person in the world to touch and hold them. No matter what happens in life, that connection keeps me grounded to what is really important.
How do you balance your work life as a chef and home life as a father?
A chef's schedule is challenging to begin with and even more so with a family. My wife is the cornerstone of our family. Anything I do professionally is possible because of her and is key to my ability to manage the hours I work and the demands of parenting. It comes from constant communication, understanding, and taking the time when you have it - not waiting until tomorrow, not being too tired, helping each other and loving unconditionally.
Tell us about the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a father and how you have overcome it?
Honestly, parenting positively. I’m coming from a kitchen culture which is demanding and generally works like a brigade; telling people what do, when to do it and giving immediate direct feedback. Sometimes that does not translate well into parenting. Switching gears can be challenging. At home, my wife often jokes “You’re not the chef here.”
Can you tell us about something that makes you happy as a father?
Spending time with my kids outside in nature, exploring with them, teaching them about how it can keep you a peaceful person. In this day and age of having to manage screen time, I find that this keeps them grounded — they notice everything!
How do you celebrate with your family? Traditions or meals, etc.
We try and sit down to as many meals as possible to discuss our day, what is going on in each one of our worlds, and take time to eat well. Every July, I look forward to watching the Tour de France. We get up every morning for three weeks and watch it live together. We know all the riders and the teams and root for our favorites.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us, feel free.
Being a father is the something that took me some time to embrace; because my wife had them in the womb for 9 months, her relationship to our kids started that much earlier. It changed my life forever and it is the largest challenge, responsibility and gratifying experience I will ever have.
Thank you to Chef Starkus for sharing his thoughts with us.