Let’s Stay Together (Al Green)
Hello everyone, I am Michael Korn, the lucky man who is Sharon’s husband. I am proud to share our story for you in this week’s edition of the DJB blog.
Rick Halberg and I teamed up to open his small restaurant named after his daughter Emily in 1994. When we opened we were inspired by the great restaurants around the country and the incredible creative food scene in Michigan, specifically Tapawingo up north. Set in an old house on Center St. in Northville it was a moment in time I will never forget for many reasons, today I will share with you only one story, how I met my wife Sharon.
Emily’s was a special night out so Friday’s and Saturday’s were fully booked and Sunday’s were sometimes very quiet. Rick would take the day off and the sous chef and I would send home early servers, dishwashers and bussers and do it ourselves. Thank the wine gods I kept one server Jill who honestly probably said “I’m not leaving” and I said “ok”. Although I was a manager my staff was mature experienced women who liked me just enough to let me do my wine thing and assist in boosting their check average.
Needless to say, that particular Sunday we got slammed! Jill had ten tables and was running around like the Russians have invaded Detroit and are heading to Northville. Our last late table of two young ladies showed up and eleven tables for Jill was out of the question so I kindly schmoozed and sat them at table number 1, the best table in the house by the bathrooms.
As I knocked the waiter rust off myself and got ready to talk specials, wine and recommendations I quickly picked up a sense that these were restaurant ladies out for a special night so I concluded they were going to be very forgiving or brutally cruel. So I married one (hee-hee). No seriously, Sharon and Sara picked up on the scene fairly quickly and as I relaxed, which they were already, I recall their experience was thoroughly enjoyed. They even tipped me very well.
Later that week I was out for drinks at The Wagon Wheel with a chef lady friend I was seeing and surprise, surprise, surprise (Gomer Pyle) Sharon sits herself down at our table and has friendly chat with us. I had a long ponytail of hair, an ‘87 Toyota Supra and 50+ ties in my closet so drinks with two ladies was a regular thing for me.
Somehow that meeting at the Wagon Wheel turned into Sharon meeting Rick Halberg to be our new Sous Chef. The people working along-side Sharon was her childhood friend Mark (a Sharon loyalist) and Michael Laiskonis (La Bernadine Pastry chef and Latvian Culinary Professor). With Rick still creating menus and recipes, cooking along-side Sharon on most busy weekend nights and Mark and Michael doing everything else needed the kitchen and food was sensational.
With secret service style secrecy Sharon and I went on a first date. There is some blurry recall here but I believe we went to Tom’s in Royal Oak, had an excellent time and both supported the second date idea but secrecy was a must (and who doesn’t like secrets!). I must point out that I drove on our first date my 1987 black Toyota Supra, six cylinder-overhead cam-manual transmission…. Just saying.
No question about it, after a few dates, great champagne, and lots of laughs we were officially secretly dating and an opportunity fell in my lap. The only time in my life I made a decision to leave something that I loved for a big paycheck. I don’t regret my decision but I never made another move based on money. I was working in Birmingham for seven years and during that time Sharon and I rented a house, bought a house, adopted two dogs (Pickle and Onion) and Sharon became the best Chef Streetside Seafood Birmingham has ever had.
We lived, we loved, we fought, we drank champagne and we stayed together. I wrote a song for her, came to me really out of nowhere called “Two Fish in the Sea”. I play guitar and over the years, once in a while a song will fall into me and all I need to do is write it, refine it and record it, which I did. Recently I had to re-learn it.
For about a year I plotted with my stepmother Cindy the proposal plan. We shopped for a diamond then found a jeweler to make a ring for it. I planned a train trip to Chicago, nice hotel, reservations at Takashi, Champagne for the hotel room, just a quick getaway.
I proposed in the bathtub.
She asked me “why are you doing this?”
I said “I don’t know”
Our wedding was amazing!