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Our Four Fathers

John Beach, Buckhead Heritage

1. My dad taught me to work hard but make sure it’s things I enjoy. And to “not take myself too damn seriously”. All great lessons I try to practice every day. My first real job from graduate school was with Ed Roberts, MD, who is in the Georgia Technology Hall of Fame as the 1975 inventor of an early computer. Ed was brilliant, curious and optimistic; and believed he could do anything. A refreshing approach.

2. Buckhead has some great parks and trails along the Chattahoochee – I met my wife there in 1986 while fly fishing, when our dogs started playing. We take our two pointers out weekly, and one is an award-winning frisbee competitor. I also play tennis, sculpt, and do some writing, so there’s always more to do than time to do it.

3. I have a lifelong interest in history, architecture and historic preservation. Being able to help preservation groups like Buckhead Heritage with my time and support is not really giving back to me – I get so much from members and other volunteers in return. I’ve also done some writing and teaching, and you learn so much, it’s incredibly rewarding.

4. Portofino, Le Colonial, Bilboquet and F & B, among others, miss us, and we them.

Ford Fry, Restaurateur

1. NYC chef Terrance Brennan once shared some advice that stuck with me. He said to make sure you are big enough so that you are not a slave to your business and you’re able to steer the ship as opposed to being held captive by the ship. That’s really helped me build a great team that I can rely on and that’s then able to use that to grow and develop their own teams.

2. Currently, I’m working out, playing the guitar or hanging out with my family. I’ve been cooking a lot during all this and I really enjoy it. I bounce around from smoking things on the Big Green Egg to some of the more non-traditional recipes that were in my cookbook – the meatballs, braised brisket barbacoa, and things that might take a little more love to create.

3. I enjoy helping people trying to navigate their own careers or start their own businesses. I try to share everything – the staples that really worked for me and advice, contacts, and connections – I feel I had people that stepped up to help me and I want to return that favor. From a restaurant standpoint, we host several annual events and have great charitable partners we support year after year like Camp Life and Georgia Organics.

4. I’m not typically one that would go for fine dining, but I haven’t been to the new Bacchanalia space since they moved from Westside Provisions, and it’s been on my to-do list for a long time now.

Kenneth Braswell, Fathers Incorporated

1. I was inspired by two men who help develop both my awareness of my gifts and responsibility to serve. Dr. Jack Conway was my boss in my early professional years and a cultural anthropologist. He helped me understand the importance of being aware of my history and worth in society. He also inspired my love for writing. Art Mitchell was a jack of all trades. He pushed me in my early years to exceed in excellence and pushing all of my gifts to the limits.

2. During this time most of my relaxation is engaging in my creativity of writing. I just completed a children’s graphic novel and beginning to prepare it in the hopes of finding a publisher. It would be my 5th children’s book. Outside of that, binge-watching Cheers, Seinfeld and The Office for the hundredth time.

3. My entire life is consumed by trying to engage in ways to give back, not only to communities in need but lately on mentoring young people of color in building their organizations and business. My wife and I just completed a certification in becoming Master Life Coaches and plan to use that in helping individuals in the areas of fatherhood, family, finances and legacy building through entrepreneurship.

4. I and my family are looking forward to having a nice, big juicy steak. It will be hard to choose from because we all have our different favorites. My children love Outback, my wife enjoys McKendrick and while I like them both, I’m looking forward to finally trying both Fogo de Chao and The Capital Grille.

Bill Demmond, Inland Seafood

1. My two biggest inspirations are two people who I am still with to this day.  Fist, there is my wife, Betti Mason Demmond.  She is the one who helped push me to work hard to become the best I could be.  She is also the one who convinced me to listen to Joel Knox in 1983 when he called to ask me to join Inland Seafood.  Joel inspired me to learn the fresh seafood business and to help grow Inland to be a leader in the perishables industry.

2. Being is this business can be quite stressful. Product is perishable, we deal in hunted species and there never seems to be enough to get for everyone.  When you let a chef or restaurant owner down, reactions can be quick and intense, which add to that stress.  So, I find things to help me relax.  Going out to dinner with a nice glass of wine. Sitting on my porch with a glass of whiskey and a cigar.  Listening to music, loud, both in person and at home.  Playing golf every chance I get.  But the most fun these days is spending time with my two young granddaughters and looking forward to the grandson who is due any day now in the middle of this stupid virus and our difficult quarantine.

3. I also enjoy giving back to the community to show how much health and happiness are for me and my family and that we want all of us to have that chance.  We go to Charity auctions and functions whenever we can and some of our efforts go to supporting the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Society, the Giving Kitchen and the efforts of les Dames d’Escoffier Atlanta, the American Heart Association and Breast Cancer.

4. Betti and I will be back in the marketplace for some dinners out at some of our favorite places  We try to support as many restaurants as possible and tend to visit those we love in our neighborhood of Brookhaven and Buckhead most often like Aria, St. Cecelia, Haven and both Little Alley and Arnette’s when possible.

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