Personally, I’ve always been an egg guy. Metaphorically, it’s a pretty simple argument. Eggs represent new life, rebirth, new beginnings… the list goes on. And then there’s the nostalgia factor. Most of us grow up eating scrambled eggs. It’s probably the first thing you learned to cook for yourself. Eggs are warm, comforting, and beautifully simple. They’re the perfect canvas... if your canvas was a warm, delicious mix of goop and embryo.
That’s what I tried to tap into when I opened my first restaurant, Nighthawk, where all we served was breakfast for dinner. I was 25, just breaking into the industry, and I decided to stick with what I knew. Breakfast food, but elevated. Eggs benedict, but make it french fries, cereal milk, but boozy. The food was something new, but at its heart, it was simple and still is. It was young, adventurous, and meant to be messy. There’s no neat and proper way to eat a burger topped with a fried egg. Trust me, I’ve tried.
It’s also the kind of food that takes you back. I think nostalgia is a really important part of the human experience. We all need that link to a childhood memory or that special moment in our life that makes us really feel something. I’ve always looked at food as a conduit to a conversation, and as much as dinner is considered to be the most social meal, breakfast is where people feel the most like themselves. It’s when they’re just waking up, shaking off the sleep, and gathering the motivation to start their day.
When I was 25, I had a dream to create the life I always wanted, so I started at the beginning, I started with breakfast. I see those days as the first chapter, the start of something big that I didn’t even know was coming my way. And now that I look back, I realize how much that simple choice meant. That choice, those foods, they were the meals that kicked off my dreams.
But if we’re going to stick with the circle of life-slash-rebirth-slash-egg metaphor, where do you go from there? Well, for starters, you grow up a little. And maybe in your next cycle, those scrambled farm-fresh eggs evolve into sustainably-farmed caviar. Still the same principle, but a little fancier, a little more refined, and a little less familiar. To some, it might even be a little scary - I mean, at the end of the day, it’s fish eggs. But that’s okay because an egg is an egg and if I taught you to think differently about breakfast, I’ll sure as hell do it for caviar.
I’ve been working on this caviar line for the last year, finding ways to make the process fully sustainable and deliver the best possible product. The way I look at it is that there are always ways to redefine and improve anything you do and my passion lies in creating projects that furthermore push conversation and culture forward. And in that same way, I’m evolving the egg, I’m evolving myself.
There’s also something a little more intimate about this next chapter. With Nighthawk I was tapping into people’s childhoods, but the setting was still very much a bar. It was a night out, loud, and fun, and a little messy. Caviar, on the other hand, is a dinner party. It’s you, me, and your closest friends hanging out in your dining room, celebrating something special. But once those happy moments are attached, Caviar is exactly the same thing as those humble scrambled eggs: a great memory, waiting to happen.
So you see, some things changed. While our social circles may have gotten smaller, our palettes have expanded. A night out at 30 looks a lot different than one at 25. But then again, some things stay the same. Because whether it’s scrambled, fried, or raw, whether it’s slapped on a burger, or piled on a blini, it all comes back to the beginning, to the simple, constant, perfect egg.