Holidays with the Lockeland Table Family

ChefFamBlogLT Christmas Tradition: We adopt a family every year. This year we have a family of six. Cara makes a list of what each person needs and hangs it in the kitchen. The staff chooses what they want and circles or initials the items they will purchase. The staff gets excited about that. We’re also going to buy the children a gift card.

The holidays are alive and well—the season where businesses make money. And while that’s true, it’s more than that to us here at Lockeland Table. Sure, the holidays are all about food, but one of the things we understand is that it’s also about family. The time of year to build relationships. That’s why we’re closed on the holidays.

Depending on how Christmas falls, we close more than that day. Our first year it fell on a Tuesday or Wednesday…so we were closed Sun-Wed…if it falls that way, we do close a bit more. It’s family time! That’s the Lockeland way.

Most restaurants (Independents) close on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Hotels have no choice. They have to be open. Could we make money, yes. But we choose to be closed.

I’ve worked on holidays. The hotel I trained at was open and I remember working Thanksgiving. That was a very busy day. Cara recalls a chef at the Hermitage Hotel mentioning the amount of mashed potatoes needed to get through the day could fill a hot tub.

We served family style where I worked. It was quite a process. If it was a table of 4, 6 or 8 we’d determine the exact amount of each sides for that table. We had to plan too, if they would want leftovers. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it. At the end of the day, however, even if we worked on that holiday, we sat down and ate together as a staff.

Personally speaking…
ColeChefBlogWe got the tree up last night. We made some cookies and had some fun.

Cole liked all the different colors and shapes of all the ornaments. He struggled with getting them out of the plastic holders. He’d look at me and say, “Help, daddy, help. Help, Daddy.” He’s at the point where he’ll be more involved in this Christmas than before.

Cara has a routine too. On a Sunday, they all go and pick out the tree together. She puts on a Christmas movie and the music…it’s about a four hour process. Her mom and the nieces even come. It’s always been that way. Every ornament she owns has a story and she tells it as it’s being hung.

We have the same. I have an ornament of Cole’s first Christmas, one from the first Christmas for my wife and I, even one from my hometown. When I pull an ornament out of the box I usually hear myself saying, “Oh, I forgot about this one!” When we were done this year, the family was tired, but I kept going. All the ornaments that were on the bottom row, I moved them all up and made room for presents.

Again, family is key. That’s why Lockeland Table adopts a family each Christmas. We want to be involved with our community at many levels. This year the family we chose has four kids. It’s the largest family we’ve ever had. Each staff member selects a person from that family. Cara makes a list of needs and you choose what you want to buy or how you’d like to contribute. The staff gets excited about that. We don’t make it mandatory, but we want our staff to be involved and have a heart for the community.

Staff is family too. The holidays are a time when we can look for ways not only for ourselves, but for the staff to express themselves. For example, I suggested to Anthony that he come up with the fish dish for the New Year’s Eve menu. He’s excited.

Speaking of, get your reservations in now. You don’t want to miss it. I’ve got some pickled ramps that will be displayed. Come check ’em out. Our menu is live now. You can see it if you click here!

Thank you for your continued support for yet another year at Lockeland. Come ring in the New Year with our family and bring in yours! We’d love to see you at the table.

Chef Hal
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