Last Sunday we had our annual company holiday party. That's how we roll in bakery world (see what I did there?). We hold our holiday parties at the end of January, because that's when we can.
Seriously though, what about the company party thing - kinda weird, don't y'all think? For some reason the whole idea of the "company party" makes me think about the seventies. It feels like there's going to be middle aged men in plaid slacks and bad ties hanging around the punch bowl talking sales numbers. You know - overflowing ashtrays and late inebriated arguments over the stuff that's been building for years, while an unpleasant little rumor whispers its way over the white shag carpet and down the divan regarding a certain drunken liaison that may or may not have occurred either in the coat closet, or possibly back at the office between two parties who are married - but definitely not to each other... sheesh. Maybe I took that a little far...
Well, our holiday party at was nothing like that. We all met at Conan's Pizza, just across the street from us. The ball really got rolling when Emily, our new dishwasher, casually mentioned that her father collects Burgundy, and then proceeded to produce no less than three separate vintages (one a 1er Cru) from Gevrey Chambertin. (If you're not familiar with the Gevrey, let's just say it's a luxury item you would do well to acquaint yourself with and leave it at that.)
We swilled that glorious business from the cortado glasses Josh had carted over from TFB along with a few more bottles as we gathered around a long table in the back room of Conan's. The table was decked out with 8 or so pizzas and surrounded by Conan's iconic collection of paintings of the warrior king himself.
The weather was glorious, so a few folks stood out front and smoked (I didn't ask what they were smoking - sometimes it's better if I don't know everything) and compared footwear. Whitney wore a fabulous hat. Hall Sheriff sported his newest pair of Birkenstocks with his nicer socks ("socks & stocks" - that's Hall's look).
What I'm really trying to say here, is that we stayed late into the evening, with everyone genuinely enjoying each other's company, and had a such a great time. As I scanned the room and chatted up various folks, it was not lost on me just how crazy fortunate I feel to be surrounded by this amazing group of people.
The story of what's happened at Texas French Bread over the last 15 years since I came back and took over is way too long for any one email, but as I stood around Conan's surrounded by this stellar crew, I was reminded of how we got here. At some point, I got it through my thick head that there is only one really important thing that a leader does: you go out, you find the very best people you possibly can, and then you do anything and everything to build a story and a culture that those folks will want to be part of.
The people who work at Texas French Bread today, are the most inspired, smart, caring, energetic, talented group that I've ever been privileged to work with. I feel unbelievably fortunate to have such a quality team helping to make Texas French Bread everything that it has been trying to become. Who knows - maybe I'll take a vacation this year.
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On another note, we've still got seating available for our Valentine's prix fixe next week, so if you like to join us, please make a reservation.
Also, the dinner menu is out of control right now - too many good things to even list. We just got a new village Burgundy from Monthelie that is the best bottle of wine I've come across in months (ask me when you come and if I've got one open I'll pour you a taste, but really - just take my work for it and buy a bottle). Finally, once we get on the other side of Valentine's weekend, we're going to offer an updated garden/bar menu.
Hope you can join us soon - bon appetit,