On June 28th 2014, Muse Restaurant and Lounge retired. Under the watchful eyes of Heather Wighton and JP Pedhirney, Muse saw growth and inspiration that I had the opportunity to witness firsthand over the course of over a year and a half.
I started working there the first week of October 2012 after I had to quit my previous job due to health complications and a week in the hospital. While I was a bit nervous about running back into the working world I needed the money to pay for my education, and I am so happy that I did. I found an ever-changing family at Muse that was bright, passionate, sassy and caring. While washing dishes there for a number of months, I learned about how the kitchen ran smoothly, adopted the chef lingo and started making Vines, Instagraming, and Tweeting a lot more that I had planned!
A few months in I began helping out MacKenzie on the garde manger station, plating salads, charcuterie, hamachi, tartar and shucking oysters, I even learned how to prepare Foie Gras!
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Fast-forward a bit and JP asked me to join the kitchen staff, so I grabbed my apron, they hired a new dishwasher and behold I became a cook! I was learning more on that station then I thought possible; it involved a LOT of memorization and muscle memory and I spent a long time trying not to take my mistakes too personally. Mac was patient with me but pushed me hard, which I will be forever grateful for. Life on the Line led to my numerous haircuts (the latest is the closest I will get to the customary fade, promise), and an appreciation for the hard work involved in making a restaurant work.
Working for so long at Muse gave me a pool of inspiration to draw from, and my first piece that entered the restaurant was a pencil crayon drawing I made of JP.
My ability to "Art" in the professional sense soon turned kitchen famous and I was pulled in to do a photo-shoot of the November Truffle Festival tasting menu. I did two sets of photos In total and I was so excited to practice my photography in a comfortable environment.
For Christmas 2013, I had a bunch of extra bowls from a throwing class, so I bought some candy, poured some in each one, wrapped them up and gave them to the kitchen staff. They all loved their bowls so much, that 4 of them were commandeered for the kitchen and they started serving special orders out of them (which I didn't know until much later). The echos of the handmade bowls lingered in the air...
It started with hints and questions, then a sit-down meeting with JP and Heather. A budget was given and I started researching. Lots of hours and a stress-induced IBS flare later and Muse restaurant had 22 custom plates to serve their food on. Plate making continued and I got some studio space at the Northmount Pleasant Art Center as a result.
I was almost finished 2 sets of dishes that Garrett Martin had asked me to make when I got the news that the restaurant was closing.
Needless to say, I was a little heartbroken that our family was going to be split up, however I know that this change is for the best and it will open new doors and opportunities. I can only speak for me, but I am looking forward to what lies ahead.
So what's next?
I am currently dishwashing at The Chicago Chophouse where the plates that I have made are being safely kept until Starbelly opens in the south. I am making a set of 50 dishes for Starbelly at the moment, and I plan to have a ceramic sale in a few weeks at the Triwood Community Center (updates will follow).
Being part of the Muse family has been a blast and I love everyone there to death. The inspirations I gleaned from the atmosphere will influence my future fine art in ways that I can and cannot predict, and I am happy for the friends I have made. You all have been a huge support to me, a thousand thank-you's.