My produce guy was Charlie Trotter’s produce guy. Doubt me? Just look at Charlie’s book on vegetables. The second page is a picture of Tom’s shop in the old market shot from the balcony. The people in it are Bennie and Alice. You wouldn’t know that if you hadn’t been going there for twenty years like I have.

Most of the finest chefs in Chicago have been Tom’s customers over the years. Rick Bayless and Frank Keller to name a couple that came up recently when Meagandugan and I made the trip together to capture some video. Tom’s daughter broke out some memorabilia with hand signed notes from people like Keller, Guy Fieri and Emeril Lagasse. Meagandugan caught it all aptly on video. For her first time out with the new Cannon she did a workman like job.

We are going to be doing a video blog about our adventures running the Irish Rose. About seventeen or eighteen years ago, Mike Whyte shot a video about the Rose. I found it the other day and had it transferred to disc at Eagle Video. It turned out pretty well and we have plans to set up a U-Tube account so that we can post it on our site. But it was like inspiration or maybe co-inspiration, whatever, it lit a fire under me to get started on a project I have been thinking about for a long time.

We bought a monster computer from Troy out at Office Max {Depot?). Yasmin has downloaded a new editing program onto the monster computer. All I have to do know is learn how to use it. Pretty soon I should be able to show you exactly where I buy my food and why.

Twenty years ago I decided to base my restaurant on the market and the finest product I could find in the city of Chicago. I figured that would allow me to start even-up with the finest restaurants in that city. It took me awhile to learn where to go but over a number of years I did. I wanted to do it the old school way and let the market determine my menu. In that I have succeeded and in addition, I am a product guy and I have the finest starting product of any restaurant in Rockford.

I am on my way back to the Rose from the market when a friend in the restaurant business calls me wanting me to purchase something for him at the market. Initially I am going to do it but then I think about it. The reason I drive all the way to Chicago two times a week whether it is snowing, freezing etc. is to give myself a competitive advantage and if I do this I am giving away that very thing for free. I decide that I will no longer do this for anyone and I make Yasmin do my dirty work and notify the other people I have been picking thing up for. Sorry, no more Mr. nice guy. I am soon to be sixty-nine and I want to limit the outside things I have to worry about so that I can concentrate on my new ideas.

So pretty soon you are going to be able to see the development of a dish from start (sourcing the ingredients) to the inspiration, to the cooking, serving and finally consumption, all pretty much in real time with the real people. Right here at the Irish Rose.