A Former Culinary Couple Now Thrives as a Blended Family

In Unheached, Couples tells the story of their relationship, from romance to divorce in their post-divorce life.

Together Gail Gand and Rick Tramonto built a stellar restaurant and established their careers as celebrated chefs, but the stress of having a child and being a powerhouse culinary couple brought their marriage to gritty.

Wedding dates 1 October, 1988

Date of Divorce October 30, 2000

Age when married That 31, that 25

Current Age 64, 57

Businesses Both are acclaimed cooks, authorizing several cookbooks including all three. He launched several restaurants in Chicago, including True. After her split, Ms. Gandhi hosted a “Sweet Dreams” event on the Food Network, and Mr. Tramonto has grown her restaurant business. He is an executive chef and partner of Restaurant R-Evolution in New Orleans and runs Tramonto Cujinas, a hospitality consulting company. This year he launched Kitchen Sisters Cooking School with a partner and often teaches.

children One son, Giorgio, now 25. Ms. Gand has brought up twins with her current husband, Jimmy Sedita; Mr. Tramonto has two stages with his current wife, Eileen Tramonto.

Where did they grow up?

That, in Deerfield, Ill. His father was a folk singer and his mother was a stay-at-home parent.

He grew up a single child in an Italian blue-collar family in Rochester, NY. His father landed in prison for embezzlement when Mr. Tramonto was a teenager. He dropped out of high school and started working in fast-food restaurants.

When did they meet?

In 1983 in a restaurant in Rochester. She graduated college with an arts degree and was working as a pastry chef; He was a line cook. He married his high school going girl, but his first marriage ended after eight years.

What was it about the other?

Shared dream of opening your own restaurant. In 1984, he moved to New York City to pursue his career. “Gayle understood what it took to work in the restaurant that became both a blessing and a curse.” After a year, they moved back to Rochester and eventually moved to Chicago.

Why did they get married?

She was not insisting for marriage but when he proposed she went with him. He said, “I liked the idea of ​​being a culinary couple.” “We complement each other.”

How were the early years?

“It was true love to go to bed with someone who smelled like fish and vinegar!” he said.

“We shared a common goal and spent all our money eating out,” he said. They both suffered from dyslexia and due to their experience, she was able to help him read. “He was a very good friend,” he said.

In 1990, he landed a job in England and developed his culinary education and farming connections through his days traveling to Europe.

First signs of trouble?

In 1993, he moved back to Chicago to open his first restaurant; Three years later they had a son. He continued working from midnight till six in the morning.

“We were great as a couple, but didn’t transition well to being a trio,” she said.

“Of course, I’m doing one thing,” he said. “I just checked.”

Did they try to take things out?

She saw many therapists, but their shared focus was shifted: she was deeply involved in being a mother, pushing her to earn Michelin stars. In 2000, they decided to divorce, but continued to work together.

“I looked above work and the marriage was over,” he said.

They opened four restaurants together after their split.

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Did they feel stigmatized?

No, but he had grown up with the notion that “dirty laundry stays in the house,” he said.

By mutual decision they kept their division secret that their investors and restaurant workers would be intimidated by such disruption. He began hosting a television show on Food Network and felt that they were hired partly because of their relationship. (Not as it turned out.)

A year after their split, the divorce was reported in a Chicago newspaper. Condolences were offered by many but the couple made it clear that there are no villains, and no one needed to take sides.

How did they fare financially?

His lawyers seemed to complicate the details of his upbringing agreement, so he worked on his own. He parented three days a week; He bought her out of their house.

How did their child react?

Soon he was a new normal, even attending a school-divorce club. Their ability to work together helped them navigate any parenting challenges. “Rick really stepped in as a father,” she said.

How did they proceed?

A few months later, a friend dated her and in 2003 she married for the third time. The following year, she had twins, who are now 16 years old.

In 2002, he married a good friend from high school who was a bride at his wedding.

The new spouse was a supporter of the amalgamation of families and former couples to work perfectly together. “We were able to keep some of the best parts of our relationship,” he said.

After the divorce, they teamed up to compete on “Iron Chef”. (They lost by half a point.)

Should they have separated soon?

No, both say that it was important to spend the early years with their child.

Is their new life better?

Yes, their families live and spend time together.

“Now I like to marry someone who knows how to relax, because I never knew how to do that,” she said.

“I have changed my priorities,” he said. “Family is very important now.”

Would you have done anything different?

He wonders if they should have stayed close to his restaurant. (On a good day, it was an hour of commotion.) “Maybe I could go home for dinner or be more present,” he said. “But I couldn’t see the solution then that was all going on.”

She expected more from the relationship and at that time she was not able to give it up. “Rick and I were present in the rare place where most chefs live, the culinary cloud where it was about cooking, the kitchen, the food, feeding others. Sometimes it’s hard to look beyond the cloud, it’s very It is late, ”he said.

Has anyone changed?

“I’m strong. Rick was the one with the big ideas early on and I helped him realistically. After our divorce, I had to find my dreams and do those things,” she said.

“I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone now,” he said.

Advice for others?

“The protagonists of our story are actually our new life partners who accept our hybrid relationship. I have no doubt that we will help each other fully, we have a long and deep friendship and it remains.

“There is no way of knowing whether the difference will become unbearable and create a lot of conflict, or simply remain attractive and bizarre. Be honest, come out gracefully, and choose again if you want, ”he said.

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