June 6, 2020

I hope that with the addition of conflicts that have surrounded us these past ten days you all have had moments of reflection that allow your spirits to remain lifted, with an eye towards progress, humanity, compassion, understanding, kindness, enlightenment.

In our small corner of the world, we feel inspired by so many people around us. Our staff who have been coming to work every week to produce the crazy notion of Simone a Go-Go, who all hail from countries and states all over the world…Ecuador, Gambia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, the Bronx, Queens, New Jersey, Texas. Without the ethics of getting through this with us, Chip and I could not have managed. We thank them.

We also thank our spectacular guests who have dined each and every week, showing such support and kindness. Without them, we would not have managed.
And I personally thank the Chef…whose patience and talents far outmatch my own and he has gracefully turned his fabulous food into a to-go bag with precision and good humor.

Music for Chip and I has always been a strong influence. We have the good fortune of being allowed into inner circles of gifted artists whose music on an everyday basis fills us up with as much nourishment as Chip’s food does for you. When he arrives each day to begin the baking part of his work, the first thing Chip will do is either put on WKCR 89.9 FM Columbia University to listen to Phil Schaap or dial into whatever mix of music he is feeling for that day…and his net is thrown wide open when it comes to music. His kitchen staff likes to say they know what mood he is in by the music he has blaring.

Last summer we went for a very quick trip to France. One of the briefest and most wonderful vacations I have ever had. The sole reason to go was to experience Wynton Marsalis at the annual Jazz Festival in Marciac. Pure magic. Under that tent in that small town overflowing with fans from all over the world, we were transported, lifted away from any stresses of running a restaurant, just going with the rhythm. And then were privy to watching him rehearse his graduating students from Julliard for a concert later that week. His truth in educating them not only about the music itself but about being a person in the world is enough to make any of us a disciple. The Marsalis family is a mighty one. Branford as well can play music that makes Chip cry like a baby.

Now, during these times, with all of us needing so much. All of us so concerned. Wondering what life is going to be in the coming months, it is the Arts that I worry about so much. If you are able, have the means to do something please connect to the places listed below and throw some weight behind the efforts to keep that music coming our way, your children’s way, your lift me up on a bad day way. And if not Music, then Dance or Theatre or Opera. The gift of the Arts brings to us an unspeakable amount of solace. I can be propelled backwards to memories quicker than anything else when I hear a particular song, or section of music. And it always brings to me a kind of peace.

We appreciate all of you,

–Tina and Chip

Jazz at Lincoln Center

Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation

The Benedetti Foundation