Monday, July 13, 2015

Remembering WALTER SCHEIB, The American Chef

Walter Stanley Scheib III (May 3, 1954 – c. June 13, 2015) - father, husband, mentor, and friend. 

 
Music: Gabriel's Oboe by composer Ennio Morricone, performed by Chris Botti.
Photographs by Kiyomi.

Monday, July 6, 2015

REMEMBERING DAD - Part Two

Walter Scheib and his youngest son, James Prince
Walter Scheib and James Prince
Growing up with dad, there were a ton of great memories and fun traditions that my wife and I look forward to passing on to our kids someday.  Such as making blueberry pancakes together on Saturdays, going fishing and kayaking, backyard football, watching sports, and countless weekends of him shuttling me to hockey games.  I also hope to pass on his sense of humor, ability to engage people and how he could always light up a room.  Additionally, his toughness and drive are two major characteristics that I hope to have in my life and instill in my family.

Just one of the many times I saw dad embody these traits, was when he was on Iron Chef.  The secret ingredient was dungeness crab, and as he was carrying them over to his station, one of the crabs badly cut his fingers.  There was so much blood that the show's producer told him if it didn't stop quickly, they would have to stop the cameras and cancel the show.  Having prepared for weeks, traveled with his team and my mom to NYC, and eager to build his brand, he saw the deep fryer and put his hand quickly in the boiling oil.  The cuts were sealed and he continued on to win against Cat Cora, 55-49.  Only two other Iron Chefs received a higher score in that 24-episode season.


As I graduated from college, got a job, and got married over the past year, it was a pretty busy time, but my dad and I still would always keep in good contact with each other, talking a couple times a week on the phone and getting together whenever he was in town.  He even treated my beautiful wife and I to an all-expenses paid honeymoon in Cancun after we got married last Fall.  We last saw each other when he was in DC shortly before his birthday in early May.  We went out to dinner, I wished him a happy birthday, and he made a toast telling me just how proud he was of my new job and for the life I've made myself with my wife.

New Mexico Sky After Dad's Passing
If you take a moment to look at this photo of the sky, you'll see a cloud formation that resembles a cross.  We saw that in the moments after the search team told us the news that they had found my dad's body.  I take it as a sign that he was called home, to his Heavenly Father, on Father's Day.  Dad, I know you're up there, watching over us.  Thank you for everything, thanks for being my dad, and I love you.

~James

Saturday, July 4, 2015

REMEMBERING DAD - Part One

Through the countless culinary events my dad hosted while running the American Chef over the past ten years, many people got to see how great he was at his craft.  However, many people did not see the personal side of my father.

Back in the late 90s, my dad started to become a big hockey fan because my brother and I started playing the sport at a young age.  I remember that he tried to ice skate with us once, but he quickly found that ice is pretty slippery and falling on it can really hurt!  Since his skating attempts did not go so well, he decided to help our hockey teams in other ways.  When my brother and I were in high school, his idea of relaxing between Christmas and New Years was to run Gonzaga High School's annual Purple Puck hockey tournament, which required 12 hour days for almost a week.  Previously, he had also managed several of my travel hockey teams while working a demanding schedule at the White House.


Walter Scheib and his oldest son Walter
When I was in high school or college he would give me lots of practical life and work advice.  I remember when I was wavering about what I wanted to do once I grew up, he would always say that I should try to identify what I love to do in life and then work my hardest to be the best I possibly could at what I chose to do.  I could've easily brushed this advice off as cliche, but I always respected this coming from him because he had lived this advice himself.  After floundering at University of Maryland for a short time, he left college to pursue his true passion in the culinary arts.  He went on to finish second in his graduating class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY (he once told me that he missed by fractions of a grade point), and then he went on to reach the upper echelons of his field—including  eleven years as the Executive Chef at the White House.  Recently, in early June, his advice to me came full circle at my grad school graduation from University of Denver when an advisor remarked to my dad about how self-motivated and hard-working I was throughout my grad school experience.  As I saw the proud reaction from my dad, I remember thinking that it was easy to stay motivated because I was doing what I loved to do.  I now realize how valuable my dad's advice was, so I sincerely thank him for this.

I want to conclude with another small anecdote:  sometimes while driving around with my dad when I was younger, a Red Hot Chili Peppers song called Can't Stop would come on the radio occasionally, and despite not really liking the band, my dad would always try to get me pumped up for the the last line of the song, which is "this life is more than just a read through".  I found it a little silly at the time, but now I realize that's how Dad lived his life—always giving everything he had and taking no shortcuts.  So, on behalf of my dad, I would encourage everyone to remember that you only have one life to live and not to forget that this life is more that just a read through.  Find what you love to do, and dedicate yourself to being the very best you can be at it.  

God bless Dad and thank you for reading this.   ~Walter Scheib