What is the definition of being successful? Is it making more money than you know what to do with? Is it having letters after your name that people aren’t even sure what they mean? Or is it simply being happy? When Mike and I decided to enter the wine business, we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road. We were realistic. We understood that we would neither be an overnight sensation, nor ever be as recognized as Robert Mondavi. That’s not why we entered the business. We entered the wine industry because we love wine and it was our dream to own a winery. We chose to not just wish or dream about it, we made a conscious decision to make it happen. We chose to Pursue Our Passion.
It’s a scary thing chasing down your dreams, but if you don’t enter the race you are never going to win. One of my favorite sayings about Pursuing Your Passion was made by “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. He very eloquently stated, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” He knows you need to take risks. You need to leave the safety net that tethers you to your comfort zone so that you can experience what happens next.
In this, what has become a monthly tradition, a guest blogger will tell you their story of how they pursued their passion in the wine industry. These people understood what Van Gogh meant by “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”
It is often said that the best bottle of wine is the one shared with friends. Well, this is a story of how a bottle of wine led to a friendship. It’s a story of how being a Jersey girl with our “typical Jersey girl style” brought two people together in a rather unlikely place. I love being a Jersey girl, and I’m proud of being one. If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out this article titled “Actual Characteristics of a New Jersey Girl.”
Mike and I were in Los Olivos doing some wine tasting. We stepped up to the tasting bar and noticed that there was another couple there. We waited our turn, patiently (not exactly a Jersey girl characteristic, but we can adapt.) When it was our turn to taste we introduced ourselves and somehow, the conversation of New Jersey came up. (it always does) All of a sudden, our tasting neighbors turned their heads and the woman introduced herself to us. (another Jersey girl characteristic- we are not shy people.)
We ended up chatting for quite some time. The tasting was a tad longer than anticipated, but who cared two Jersey girls were having a blast. It turned out that Nancy and John were from a more Southern part of New Jersey and had owned a restaurant. They too had visited Paso Robles and just like us, had fallen in love with it. (that’s easy to do once you visit) They packed up, purchased a home and relocated to the California Central Coast. Nancy began driving for a wine touring company (she now owns her own – Chariot Wine Tours) and John still pursuing his passion for food created Farmstead Catering Company. As for us, we became great friends.
Enjoy his story of how he pursued his passion.
My name is John McDevitt. I am a Chef.
I began realizing that I wanted to have a creative life as a child. In some form or fashion, I needed to find the artist in myself and pursue that passion. I found that in the Culinary Field at a young age, when I started my career working in restaurants. The lifestyle seemed exciting, and different and anything but boring. It was through the exploration of food and eventually pairings, that my journey took me to entrepreneurial pursuits as a restaurant chef/owner on the East Coast. My wife, Nancy and I, opened and operated a restaurant and bar for over a decade together, she working the front of the house, and I making strides at both creative vision and watching the bottom line. In the kitchen.
It was during the latter part of this ten year stand that we started to feel the itch to head West, and live our dream in California Wine Country. We spent a lot of time on the West Coast in our years together, and had a familiarity that made the Golden State feel like home pretty quickly. The weather and the wine, the agriculture and the relaxed lifestyle all suit me to a tee. It is here that I have found the true passion of Farm to Table. I am able to grow and utilize much of my menu ingredients on my property, thus the name Farmstead Catering Company. It resounds with me and speaks to my clients about my desire to bring the best to my food.
As a Chef, it is important to know your audience. I have been lucky to work within this area and the industry for about 4 years and have met so many great people. Working with them at Vineyard Events and other venues has been wonderful and satisfying and so much more fun than owning and running a restaurant. Each event is something new, and it is fresh and exciting to share what I do with people in a gorgeous setting that changes all the time! The Central Coast is absolutely amazing and my wife and I are thrilled to be pursuing our passions here.