RR: That old saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small
What is the secret to working with your wife, Sheila? Does it ever get explosive?
RR: Only between the sheets! But seriously, it’s all about the pearl. We’ve been creating a magnificent pearl for many lifetimes together. As you may know the oyster creates a pearl only when irritated—in the oyster’s case, with a grain of sand. We don’t always agree on business decisions, but most of the time we come to the same conclusions. It’s almost boring how much we think alike.
JV: What’s your favorite dish on the Joe’s menu? And your least favorite? RR: Joe’s Benedict—poached eggs on our house-made smoked salmon, resting on potato latkes, smothered with Hollandaise and [accompanied by] a nice crisp salad. Of course a nice glass of Gruet Sparkling Rosé Brut or a mimosa with that. Least favorite? Johnny, really, I created the menu—there’s nothing on it I don’t like and eat!
JV: What’s the hardest part of being a chef/owner? RR: Wearing two hats: balancing the conflicting demands of being a free-spending creative artist (the chef ) and those of being the tight-ass accountant (the business owner).
JV: And the most rewarding part of your career as a chef and restaurant owner?
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JV: Many people think it would be difficult to work with their spouse.
stuff ”—it’s really true. We remind ourselves frequently to really enjoy the moment, the unfolding of life. Otherwise, if it’s all about work and achieving and striving to attain goals, the daily joys of life can just pass unnoticed. Wherever you find yourself is where you should be. Slow down and enjoy it. With that being said, the devil is still in the details! Also, as one passes the 50 mark, it’s not just about doing a job anymore. There’s got to be more to it. The restaurant is a context we have created, a vehicle through which we express who we are and why we’re here. And that context has formed and solidified our mission at Joe’s.
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years as a chef? Do you feel differently about things relating to hospitality than you did when you first started out in the industry?
JV: What are a few of the life lessons you feel you have learned in your
is] harder than you think [because there are] no labeling laws. Corn, for instance, we try not to use until we can get local corn that is verifiable nonGMO. Most corn and soy and, unfortunately, a lot of wheat are GMO. [We avoid] obvious neurotoxins like aspartame/Splenda/sucralose, and HFCS is something else we try to avoid. It, of course, comes from GMO corn.
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RR: We try like crazy to avoid GMO foods and ingredients, [which
THINK BUY STAY
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JV: What ingredients will never appear in a Joe’s Dining dish and why?
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RR: When a guest leaves with a smile and heartfelt comment like, “This is my second home; see you tomorrow,” that makes it all worthwhile. Joe’s Dining is located at 2801 Rodeo Road in Santa Fe. 505.471.3800. joesdining.com.
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A Taste of Life in New Mexico