Too Close to the Fire: A chef’s story of restaurant burnout and rekindling his love of cooking

This is the third installment of Off the Map, a column by chef J.D. Fratzke. It appears monthly on growlermag.com and occasionally in print. For literally decades, one of the most zen-like and enjoyable tasks of my 14-hour work day was the 45 minutes before dinner service wherein all the chopping, dicing, braising, searing, emulsifying, and reducing … [ Read more]

I Left My Heart in Shafter Ghost Town

This is the second installment of Off the Map, a column by chef J.D. Fratzke. It appears monthly on growlermag.com and occasionally in print. It was in the waning years of the Clinton administration that I found myself standing on the roof of an abandoned blacksmith and livery in a southwest Texas ghost town. The journey had … [ Read more]

Cold Waves, Hot Ramen: Wherein the Boundary Waters sets its hook in the soul of a Minnesota chef

This is the debut of Off the Map, a column by chef J.D. Fratzke. It appears monthly at growlermag.com and occasionally in print. Wells was stripped to his skivvies and running in place, every inch of his skin the color of raspberry bubble gum. Though it couldn’t have been more than a 30-yard swim to … [ Read more]