Seattle Chef Trevis L. Gleason’s Memoir, Chef Interrupted

chef_interrupted** Winner of an International Jury Prestige Award, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2016 **

Chef Interrupted: Discovering Life’s Second Course in Ireland with Multiple Sclerosis (ISBN: 978-1-60381-301-3, 288 pp., $15.95), a memoir, is the first published book by former Seattle Chef and popular MS Blogger, Trevis L. Gleason. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Gleason follows his dreams to Ireland, where he rents an ancient cottage for a winter, gets a puppy, and discovers that there is life after the fall.

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In 2012 Dr. Oz of The Dr. Oz Show named Trevis #1 Social HealthMaker on the topic of multiple sclerosis for his Life with MS Blog, Twitter Feed, and other online presence. He was also named the Jimmie Heuga “MS Can Do Person of the Year.”

“This memoir of [Gleason’s] months in the small town of Kelly is a spry and subtly told tale of the remarkable events he experienced and the ‘wonderful, genuine, quirky people’ who welcomed him into their town and helped him achieve a sense of purpose about living with MS: ‘It was my duty then… to live fully the life they had helped me realize.’ His month-by-month narrative is interspersed with a number of his favorite recipes for Irish delights such as steak and Guinness stew and colcannon, and he leavens his joyful account of his sojourn with various displays of his ‘noir sense of humor,’ such as when he lovingly describes visiting a butcher’s shop that has ‘what every chef wants to smell… the fresh, sweet smell of fat mingled with the mineral tones of blood and meat.’ ” Read more….
—Publishers Weekly

“Chef Interrupted is a wonderful book, written superbly, depicts rural Ireland brilliantly, it will give you inspiration, it will make you fall in love with Ireland all over again and we would highly recommend it.”
—My Ireland Box

“While many a reader will pick up Chef Interrupted expecting some kind of culinary history or memoir, in fact it’s much more: it’s about survival and living with MS, and about envisioning and forming a new life. Through Gleason’s eyes, more than Ireland comes to life—and more than cooking becomes the focus, making for a recommendation to travel and self-help readers as well as audiences with an interest in culinary memoirs.”
—D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR (Midwest Book Review)

“Trevis is not only a superb chef and a warrior in his quest to live with MS, he is also one of the most generous people I’ve had the fortune to call a friend. In the time I’ve known him, he’s shared tales both funny and serious, sad and happy. He is a consummate storyteller, a magician with words. No matter his subject, he weaves a picture for you to imagine and invites you to join him in the world he’s creating. I have no doubt that his story, as told in this engaging book, will touch readers profoundly, just the way he has touched my life.”
—Kathy Casey, Chef, Mixologist, author of Sips & Apps (Chronicle Books, 2009)

Read Kathy’s post about Chef Interrupted here: “a very well written, funny, honest and inspirational book. I urge you to pick up a copy.”

“This uplifting story (presented alongside a collection of recipes) is full of humor, hope, and inspiration; it is a true must-read.”

—Kristie Collado, The Daily Meal

“Trevis weaves magic through his poetic style of storytelling allowing us to, at times, forget that he’s living with a debilitating disease, one that catapulted him to visit his family’s roots so far away. His story touched my heart, and I know it will touch yours. This is not a story about disability but one about finding your joy no matter what life has to offer. If you’ve ever had a dream, you’ll want to take a look at Chef Interrupted. It’ll keep hope in your heart and help you believe that anything is possible.”  Read more ….
—Cathy Chester’s Blog: An Empowered Spirit

“I had previously known Trevis Gleason only as the popular blogger at Life With Multiple Sclerosis. Within the constraints of this platform, he dispenses his wisdom, humor, and charm in 500 word snippets. But in Chef Interrupted Trevis throws off the shackles of forced brevity and reveals his considerable storytelling acumen…. I devoured the book in no time at all. It’s a delightful read for anyone who longs to find meaning by going back to their roots, in this case his ancestral homeland of Ireland…. It’s about the connections he made with the people and with the land, and experiences he shared with folks from home who dropped in and out of his life, and his rented cottage, during that time. It’s about a fondness for good food and drink, and a loyal, furry companion. And yes, it’s about living a full life despite a debilitating disease.”
—Mitch Sturgeon, Enjoying The Ride Blog

“When I want to know what’s really ‘cooking’ in the MS community, I log onto Trevis’ blog. He has never failed to provide balanced, candid, thoughtful, and even humorous insights into life with MS. His perspectives about the issues of the day—MS related and otherwise—always enlighten and inform me. The same is true for Chef Interrupted.”
—Joyce Nelson, CEO emeritus, National Multiple Sclerosis Society

“Don’t think of this book as a how-to-cope tome. Trevis Gleasons’ Chef Interrupted has widespread appeal and is a joy to read. Certainly his prose abounds in Celtic wit and American audacity—plus a perfectly cooked attitude of use to people who have never heard (lucky them) of ‘multiple sclerosis.’ His recipe is not to devote his life to endless warfare against a nasty incurable disease or to collapse in saintly victimhood. He’s just going on with it directly, indirectly, whatever direction works. I suppose the Irish have known this forever.”
—Martha King, Editor, Momentum, the magazine of the National MS Society (USA)

“What I love about Trevis’ writing is that he makes connections: with his blog followers, with people who have multiple sclerosis or live with other long-term conditions, with foodies, with just about anyone who reads what he writes. Chef Interrupted is, like all of Trevis’ writings, instantly relatable, funny, smart, skeptical, hopeful, and always interesting.”
—Rose Pike, Executive Editor,

“Trevis is one of those truly gifted community organizers. To be able to lead and organize a community you have to have the ability to inspire. Trevis has this down to an art. I’ve seen him transform his pain into humor, humility, and personal growth via his writings, but perhaps even more impressive is his natural ability to relate to and reach people. That means he has the gift to make you give a damn to the point you find yourself repeating his musings to others. That’s the mark of a talented writer and community leader.”
—Natalie Brown, Editor, Health Talk

When Trevis Gleason, a former chef at the top of his professional culinary career, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he lost everything—his job, his marriage, even his perceived persona. Surveying the ruins of his former life, he saw an opportunity to fulfill a long-postponed dream. He would travel from Seattle, Washington, to the wilds of west Kerry, Ireland for the winter.

Renting a rustic cottage in “The Town,” Trevis braved narrow, sheep-obstructed roads and antiquated heating systems to learn that his life, his loves (including cooking), and even his dreams weren’t lost, just waiting to be rediscovered in this magical place.

He acquired a charming puppy named Sadie, who grounded his days and served as a devoted companion as he surmounted inevitable physical setbacks and cultural challenges. All the while, he entertained a steady stream of visiting friends and relatives, including his former wife. The Town’s colorful characters welcomed the American stranger as one of their own, and he soon found himself reveling in the beauty of the rugged countryside, the authentic joy of the holidays, the conviviality of the pubs, and the hearty flavor of the simple food.

Recipes included.

“Multiple sclerosis doesn’t steal away our futures; it steals what we thought and expected to await us in our futures,” says Gleason in his introduction. “My bright flash of the obvious was that my ‘retirement years’ weren’t going to find me seventy years old, in a canoe, fishing in some pond in Vermont. MS had already stolen much of my control of my left side, attacked my vision, and even—showing the true bastard of itself—taken away elements of my sense of taste on a number of occasions. If I was to enjoy any of the things I’d hoped to be doing in my far advanced years after a career, I would have to start identifying what those dreams were and create a plan to make them happen.”

Chef Trevis L. Gleason has been an award-winning culinarian, consultant, and instructor as well as a decorated member of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Goodwill Ambassador to Ukraine. Retired from a distinguished culinary career, Gleason has taken on the challenges of living with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis since his diagnosis in 2001. He is an ambassador for the National MS Society, an active volunteer for Multiple Sclerosis Ireland and the MS Society of the UK, and speaks to groups, both large and small, about living life fully with or without a chronic illness. Gleason divides his time between Seattle, Washington and County Kerry, Ireland with his wife, Caryn, and their two Irish Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers, Sadie and Maggie. For more information, click here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

I could see past the herd, where there was a short line of four or five cars following at parade pace. My guess is that it wasn’t unlike driving behind horses in a parade, when it came to dodging the landmines they were known to drop in the road. I could only surmise that this was either a) commonplace for the drivers, if they were locals or b) quite the memorable experience if they were tourists.

A few of them must have been on tour, for I could also see cameras sticking out a few windows. I was expecting my experience to be a bit more thrilling as I was to be overtaken by the beasts. I had no idea, however, how thrilling and potentially expensive my half of the encounter would prove.

Smiles of the passing herders were replaced by shock on the face of Your Man at the back of the bunch. After about one third of the flock passed by a parting of the White Sea, one of the lazy buggers decided that going around the obstacle to progress that I had become was a waste of his time and/or energy. Up onto the hood—bonnet, in Ireland—of the car jumped the sheep who couldn’t be bothered to go around. Countless of his fellow pilgrims followed suit. In due course the dogs decided that their charges shouldn’t be taking the skate-ball bag as a ramp. Three of them mounted the car to escort those already in transit from off the bonnet, roof, and boot. One stayed on the bonnet to deter others as his comrades retook chase of their woolly wards.

Stunned beyond words and well into my ability to form a thought beyond “I wish Sadie had been here,” I rolled down my window to greet the man ushering the last of the ewes past.

“Jea-sus, I’m sorry!” said Your Man. “Is it a hired car?” as if anyone in their right mind would buy a car of such poor breeding.

“Aye,” I fumbled out. “Does that happen often?” I was still gob-smacked by the episode.

“No, usually with the ewes,” he replied. He stopped and leaned in my window, smelling very much of musky lanolin from that lack of distance. “But there are a few young rams me da is moving to market. Are ye stayin’ near here? We’ll buff those marks and Dan Dooley’ll never know what happened.” That was the name of the omnipresent Irish rental care agency that I had not used.

“I’m staying in The Town for the winter and don’t have to return the car for about a week,” I said, finally finding my words.

“That’s our house back there,” he said, pointing to the last farmhouse I’d passed. “Bring her by and we’ll clean it up for ye.”


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