Welcome to the seventh installment of the Food Republic serial, The Worst Idea Ever?, in which chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan set out to open a restaurant in Houston, Texas as Pilot Light Restaurant Group. This one’s for the ladies — specifically, the wives of our hopeful chef/entrepreneurs. The serial will continue every Monday until Pilot Light gets a restaurant open, hopefully by the end of the year.

For the past four months while Seth and Terrence have been out of the kitchen and in our day-to-day realities, surrounding themselves with computer screens, gulping coffee and taking meetings all over the city, there are two people that have been serving another purpose: We’ll call ourselves recipients of one of the stranger to-do lists ever put together.

Terrence’s wife Annalea works in hospital administration and I work in marketing, and while our jobs have little to do with building a restaurant, we seem to be involved in every decision, arbitration and side project.

For curiosity’s sake, we have put together a list of the more extraordinary Pilot Light RG duties we have completed.

  1. Transporting a semi-open container of liquid nitrogen in a car, with the windows open so as not to pass out.
  2. Waiting tables, while working full time, for 26-seat, nine-course dinners for an entire month.
  3. Flying cross-country with 400 individually made taco shells in carry-on bags.
  4. Carting eight raw fish trays down a boulevard in Miami.
  5. Ironing thousands of dinner napkins.
  6. Foraging for a root that grows on a tree and is only accessible by climbing a ladder and vaulting oneself over a neighbor’s fence.
  7. Running down New York City streets in search of a canister of caviar the size of a baby’s hand.
  8. Working Valentine’s Day service with then-executive chef Nils Noren at Aquavit.
  9. Shucking oysters for dinner service at C-House in Chicago.
  10.  Buying 100,000 Miller high Lifes.
  11.  Finding, sourcing and buying antibiotics for a sick sous chef.
  12.  Multiple Orange Dream Machine runs for Seth, Stewart and Terrence while at Gordon Ramsay.
  13. Going to the down-and-out military store, in the middle of a gun show, to source one Texas patch and one USA patch — then sewing the patches onto chef jackets.

Let’s be honest, we had a good time. 


Read the previous installment of The Worst Idea Ever.