FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Most people know the restaurant business is a grind, but when it’s your passion the hard work and stress become a labor of love. That fits the life of Tim Love.
Even at home celebrity chef Tim Love loves to cook. “It’s one of those weird professions that if you really really love it, like I do, it brings joy to me, even though it’s work,” he said.
Love found his life’s calling by accident while looking for work to get through college.
“I applied to be a bartender, server or a host, because I wanted to meet girls. (I was in college.) And he offered me a job making salads for $5.62 an hour,” Love said.
But after one day in the kitchen he was hooked.
“My first shift on the line I just fell in love with the pressure,” he recalled. “Everything about being on the line and so I just started learning as much as I could as I was going to school.”
Love also learned about fresh ingredients. He showed us the garden in his backyard where he grows everything from lettuce, to onions, to one of his favorites — asparagus.
“It’s one of the few vegetables that really starts to loose its sugar very, very quickly. If you were to have this asparagus which we’re gonna try right here. Take a bite of that. It’s a lot sweeter.”
Eating the vegetable CBS 11 Anchor Russ McCaskey said, “Oh yeah! That’s delicious. It’s so much better than what you get from the store.”
Love, who is known for burgers, barbecue and beef, is shaking things up. He plans to use freshly grown vegetables at his new Italian restaurant — ‘Gemelle.’
“At ‘Gemelle,’ we will be serving a raw asparagus gazpacho. We will shave it with all that sugar in there and a little bit of brightness of lemon and olive oil and Parmesan cheese. It’s off the charts,” Love said.
Also off the charts — the very first restaurant he opened. Almost 20 years ago, Love opened “Lonesome Dove Bistro” in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
There have been challenges along the way including a devastating fire in 2013. “The fire started just ousted the kitchen burst through the window. Destroyed the kitchen and it was so hot the exit sign was a pool of plastic right here,” he recalled.
But he rebuilt and survived, as did his signed copy of Larry McMurtry’s novel “Lonesome Dove.”
“The book stayed intact amazingly so… It’s pretty cool.”
Love has three more restaurants in the works and he still get butterflies before opening night.
“Ten restaurants strong and every time I’m at a restaurant before it opens I’m staring at the door saying man ‘I hope people come through the door today.’ I think if you lose that feeling you lose your edge,” Love said.
He still has that edge. And now he is passing it down to his kids, who will work in his restaurants.
“They want to work which is awesome. They really want to work and I think everybody in the world should work in a restaurant for at least a year. It would make you treat people better. It will make you understand people better.”
And if Love keeps opening up restaurants his kids will have lots of options.