The Chef and I: A Love Story

If you are just ‘meeting’ me here, on this blog for the first time, Hi!  I’m Erica Rains, the “I” in The Chef and I, and owner of this amazing company. Throughout the years, the chef and I have shared our love story with many because it is an against-all-odds, impossible second chance kind of tale, and it is what this company is built on: love, passion, perseverance and dreams. Our team members, clients, friends and family have seen the proof in the pudding, as we enter our seventh year together, and will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary this July. 

chrisanderica2 (1) I was never one to automatically assume that love is just waiting around the corner, ready to spring into the arms of everyone. For me, I had given up on love. I was an Air Force wife for seven years (pause for reaction) – and no, I didn’t fit in too well with the other Air Force wives, but we lived on base so I made the most of it. Something was missing and I didn’t really know what it was. Seven years later, I was in Biloxi, Mississippi as a radio personality. Married but lonely, I was thinking ‘this is not my life’. Side note: Comment below if anyone else thought of David BryneSame as it ever was….

THEN, in an act of sheer courage, I made a decision to leave that marriage, that life, and the beach. It was a hard decision. I loved the beach. I was famous in a small town. But still, something was missing….so in 2007, I moved back home to Nashville and started over. And that’s when I met the chef.

They tell you that true love will smack you in the face when you least expect it, but only when you are ready. That’s exactly what happened, and the moment we met, I felt a flood of relief. That ‘thing’ that had been missing my whole life was here, and folks, some of you may scoff, but it really WAS love at first sight. We met on eHarmony, and met in person at a Titans game, and the story is true. I literally ran and jumped into his arms when we met. I knew. And I instantly wished this feeling for all my loved ones.

Chris and I started The Chef and I literally months after we met. We were just dating when we applied for licenses, took a leap of faith, and never looked back. He was sitting pretty at his job as Executive Chef at the arena with the Nashville Predators, but something was missing for him too-and we both set out to pursue a dream that we both fully believed we could make come true.

Every single day, I am happy with this man. I am in love every day, and feel lucky every day. Yes, we have our moments of frustration, but I choose to see it as a fairy tale. I choose to see sparkles every time I look into his eyes-and we know that people catch us looking at each other from across the room at the restaurant and at events even when we are working our butts off. There have been naysayers who claim it isn’t possible to have such an amazing relationship and work together, but I believe that you make it what you want it to be. And every day, to us, it’s magic.

THAT is why The Chef and I works. It was built on love, and talent, and sheer determination. Seriously folks, we just never gave up, and if you know me, you know I never stop. It wasn’t easy, and the first couple of years were scary and hard, but we built something great in a relatively short amount of time, and something that is snowballing . We did it, and we are here to tell the world that love does exist, especially at The Chef and I, where love and food collide.

Speaking of…
VALENTINE’S DAY is just around the corner and we would love for you to spend it with us at our restaurant in Lenox Village in Nashville near the corner of Nolensville Road and Old Hickory Blvd.


Last year, we had only been open a little over a month and were nervous about Valentine’s Day and whether we’d be busy. We were overwhelmed with the response we had and filled up both seatings quickly! The same pattern is showing to be true this year, and if you’d like to experience The Chef and I on Valentine’s Day, I suggest making reservations now: call 615.730.8496 or email We still have seats left in both the 6pm and 8pm seatings as of today but anticipate them to fill up within the week.

Fellas, this would definitely be a nice gesture for your significant other. Girls, if you are the one making the plans this year, you’ll make him very happy with our Valentine’s menu. Check it out:

1st Course
Bisque of Sweet Basil & Roasted Yellow Beet
With balsamic and basil oil, garlic batons

2nd Course
Crispy Duck & Kale Salad
With citrus and quinoa, red wine glaze, grapefruit segments

Marinated Flat Iron Steak
Trio of Pesto – Blackberry Molasses, Smoked Tomato, Horseradish
With wild mushroom risotto


Wild Mushroom & Spiced Tofu Ravioli
With smoked tomato and garlic sauce

Dessert Red
Wine Cake
With strawberry goat cheese icing, dark chocolate caramel Razor Ad Feb/Mar 2014

We’ll be playing music from the Beatles, Hall & Oates, and everything in between for a romantic rock n’ roll evening of gourmet proportions. The chef and I will both be there, visiting with each and every guest and hoping to hear their love stories as well. Props to Melanie Phelps for designing our amazing Valentine’s Day/love in general ad that will be seen in Razor Nashville, a hot new magazine that I’m writing for. Comment below if you’ve not seen Razor yet or want more info! My first article was out for the December/January issue, and this next one is such a sweet story about a couple of guys in love and how they deal with that on the road.

Speaking of….

LOVE n’ THEFT: New dads who get an A+ in the love department Love N Theft & babes When I was little, my mom became best friends with a spitfire named Cindy. Her sweet daughter Emily was around the same age as my sister Emily (who you may have met at the restaurant-she is on The Chef and I team too!) – and the two Emily’s were so cute together. We’ve all grown up together and Cindy’s little Emily married Eric Gunderson, half of the killer country duo, Love n’ Theft. Naturally I thought of them when I started crafting my February article for Razor Nashville, titled “Love from the road”.

I interviewed both Eric and Stephen from the hot Nashville duo, and both have new babies (Stephen’s is VERY new) and wonderful women in their lives. We chatted about how they keep the communication lines open on the road, and what it’s like to have a young family back at home for each of them. The guys both really are very grounded and have characteristics that make them stellar new fathers and amazing significant others. While Eric and Emily have been married about four years, Stephen and Jenna plan to wed in August.

I think you’ll really enjoying this refreshing piece on the guys and how they manage their love on the road, and of course some great things happening for them in their career these days. Success and love can co-exist, and in my opinion (and as is the case with the chef and I), each helps the other grow.

I feel like 2014 will be a year to celebrate love of all sorts – and I hope you have love in your life too. Whether it’s a significant other, child, parent, sibling, best friend or a furry friend…I hope you feel truly loved by someone and that you truly love someone back.

I can’t wait until Valentine’s Day. See you at the restaurant.

And remember, life is short; it might as well be delicious.

Yours Truly, Erica Rains ♥


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