Soulful Sunday is a weekly dose of inspiration from busy Chicago women who still manage to stay balanced no matter what their career—or life—throws their way.
James Beard award-winning chef Nahabedian may be best known for her one Michelin star restaurant NAHA (a celebrated Chicago staple since 2000) but, more recently, foodies and Francophiles have been banging down the door of Brindille, a River North hotspot that celebrates the favorite Parisian dishes of this star chef and her co-owner and cousin Michael Nahabedian.
How she unwinds:
"I unwind by swimming at the Four Seasons pool and working out with my great trainer, Patrick Speckhart. Also, I always have lunch on Sundays, usually with a few friends who are also over-worked and mentally strained from their high pressure jobs! People in the restaurant industry live entirely different from others...we dine out late at night, go to bars and clubs after a full service in our own restaurants, and just live life by burning the candle straight through both ends. It's in our blood, that's just how it is. When most people are heading home, we are just starting our 'second' part of our day.
"Seriously, you need to have other interests than just work. I read profusely and love old movies—which I program in my DVR and watch them when I have time. Sometimes it takes me months, but I finally catch up on The Great British Baking Show, Antiques Roadshow, Flea Market Flip, NCIS, and Downton Abbey."
"Balance...what is that?! I will tell you my secret. (I) don't get flustered and always stay focused and organized so I am never rushed in my personal life. I have a group of friends who travel the world quite a bit and we share travel secrets, restaurants, and shopping, so I am always 'in my head' planning the next escape, big trip, or adventure. It may not happen, but at least thinking about it and getting interested is the first step.
"I love to shop and walk Michigan Avenue and the neighborhoods of Chicago. There is a method to my madness. My Christmas shopping was done in October, organized and wrapped in November, then I can just relax and savor the season. I can't imagine those people who 'hate' the holidays and can't wait until they are over. It's a lovely time of year, and you have to make time to enjoy it. My favorite is to walk home from work late at night down Michigan Avenue with all the lights on the trees. It's magical, and I can't understand why the city doesn't do it year round."