“Then there’s the need to get to the market
before the other guy. And people are out
of work, and eat out less. The Gulf is a
disgusting mess, and we need action. I’m
worrying about what can I put on my fish
menu. Is Gulf seafood safe? What can I
believe? The lack of truth bothers me a lot.”
Once, Cheswick had several managers out
front and two sous chefs. “Now, it’s me and
three other line cooks,” he says. And he
can’t see going back to the old days, with a
big staff, even if the economy revives.
“I’m worrying, can I pay my staff and my
vendors, let alone me. And what about
relationships?” His daughter lives in Germany,
and he only gets to see her once a year.
As if his workload isn’t strenuous enough,
Cheswick is “learning to stretch,” adding
marketing through Facebook and Twitter
to his repertoire. “I’ve had to go from
cooking to being a personality,” he says. “It
can get so bad that discussing chicken on
Facebook is more important than taking
time to talk with people in the dining room.”
Alexander Cheswick, owner of May
Street Market, Chicago, must keep on top
of his game when it comes to satisfying
his customers, even when dealing with
too little sleep.
In the face of all this turmoil and change,
Cheswick prefers to be proactive, injecting
balance into his life through yoga and
meditation. Five days a week, he practices
Vinyasa Yoga, which links motion to breath.
“Chefs don’t have a lot of time for classes,”
he says, so he exercises with a tape.
To quiet his restless mind, he communes
with nature by walking in the park and
releasing upsetting thoughts through
practicing deep breathing. “With the
breathing exercises, I observe the
thoughts and watch them pass,” he says.
Running helps Cheswick regulate his sleep,
in keeping with “ 10 tips for better sleep,”
written by staff at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester,
Minn., which states, in part: “Regular physical
activity, especially aerobic exercise, can help
you fall asleep faster and make your sleep
more restful.” ( www.mayoclinic.com)
However, some folks who exercise right
before bedtime find falling asleep more
troublesome, it seems.
Among other Mayo Clinic
recommendations are maintaining
a standard bedtime and wake time,
practicing a standard relaxing bedtime
routine and avoiding consuming lots of
food and beverages before bedtime.
Cheswick doesn’t drink alcohol or energy
drinks, in keeping with findings that artificial
stimulants, including caffeinated beverages,
correlate with increased sleeplessness. He
doesn’t do drugs, either. “Thanks to all this,
I don’t have to medicate myself,” he says.
“Still, I find it hard to sleep.”
Despite his workload, and thanks to his
lifestyle, he avoids falling into a group of souls
who sleep less than 6 hours a night and are
more prone (than those who sleep 7-8 hours)
to engage in risky health behaviors, including
obesity, smoking, consuming five or more
alcoholic drinks per day, plus leisure-time