(Chef's) Widow of the World
Hilary & Chef Erik
What is your name & what kind of widow are you?
I’m Hilary Battes, chef widow.
Where is your casa & what is your jobby job?
My chef husband and I live in the misunderstood, unofficial 6th borough of NYC-Jersey City. I teach second grade here in JC and Erik works across the Hudson in NYC.
How long have you been in a relationship with someone in the ‘industry?’
We met in the band in middle school. The tall drummer and mousy flute player started dating our freshman year in high school. We’ve been together for 12 years and married the last 4.5. Erik’s been a slave to the industry since college.
What is your biggest turnoff or dislike of being a Chef’s/Restaurant Widow?
The biggest turnoff about being married to a chef is the time he spends away from home. My husband recently started traveling and his mini Monday through Friday trips are fine, but he’s been away as long a month and that is tough. Thank God for webcams and email.
What is your favorite aspect of being a Chef’s/Restaurant Widow?
The food!! I love eating out; I love eating in; I just love eating. I would have never been exposed to some of the most unique foods in the world without the influence of my husband. My food motto is: I’ll try anything…once. Would I eat lamb’s testicles again? Nope.
Considering your significant other most likely works a million and one hours a week, how do you find time to keep the relationship alive?
We’ve both worked really hard to make sure that our free time is spent mostly with each other. It may sound crazy, but we really don’t have many friends. Who has time for friends when I hardly see my husband?
Also, again-this many sound crazy, but when my husband comes home anywhere between midnight and 2 AM I wake up and spend time with Erik. We have some food and catch up on our favorite shows, like LOST.
When you do have time together what is your favorite thing to do (besides the nasty:)?
We absolutely love eating out. Sometimes I wonder how our restaurant spending alone doesn’t put us in the poor house. There are so many great places to eat here in NYC, we really don’t even have a chance to go more than once to most places.
Do you have any sage words of wisdom for those men or women just starting a new relationship with a Chef or Restaurant manager?
Oh yeah. COMMUNICATE. I firmly believe that every relationship, especially one as strained as these types, needs massive amounts of honest and direct communication. Without talking I tend to get resentful and angry.
Do you cook?
Absolutely not. I can make a few things, but I always end up getting annoyed that they just don’t come out the same as Erik’s dishes.
What would your last meal/adult beverage on earth be? Who would you eat it with?
My last meal would be with my husband sitting at the back table at Jean Georges enjoying the tasting menu with a wine pairing.
I know that being a mother and being married to a Chef makes me insane, how do you handle balancing your family life with such a demanding work schedule of your partner?
Ask me again in 7 weeks- that’s when my first child is due. Ah!! I have no idea how I’m going to handle things. Better yet, ask me again in September when I go back to work full time. *****Hilary had her baby boy a few weeks back. Now you can tell how behind I am on posting. Meh.*****
If you have/had kids would you encourage them to pursue the restaurant industry as a career?
I’ve talked a lot about this with Erik and we still haven’t really made up our minds. Erik usually discourages people from entering the industry. If little Maverik wants to be a chef, then of course we’ll encourage him. But I don’t see us pushing it on him. This industry is CRAZY.
Feel free to share an awesome widow facts about yourself &/or anything you’ve got going on…blog, restaurant events, etc…
I’ve got a blog (Desperate Chefs Wives) and I’m blessed to have met so many women (including Chef's Widow herself) through the site.
I’ve been volunteering the last three years for Career Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). They work hard at giving inner city high school students the scholarships and opportunities needed to get into the culinary industry. I couldn’t think of a better organization to get behind that connects my love of all things culinary with education.
****If you are a restaurant/chef's widow & are interested in doing an interview for this lil 'ol blog then I would love to hear from you! Please email me at chefswidow at gmail dot com.
****Also if you are a restaurant/chef's widow please come over to our network & chat. We recently started back up and it is growing rapidly. It's a great place to meet other women (no men yet) who are in the same shoes as you.