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Some twenty years ago or so I had the opportunity to work in the kitchen of one of the most recognized, and popular, institutions in Jasper GA . . . The Woodbridge Inn.
Okay, so I only worked there for one night before deciding that cutting partially frozen chicken and stuffing escargot just wasn't my thing!!! :-) I may not have made it back for day two, but it was still an experience that has stuck with me to this day.
The reason I was there was that I had the good fortune to be in high school with the owner's son, Hans Rueffert. At a time when I was a newcomer to the community, and knew few people, Hans offered me this opportunity as a friend in passing. Though it didn't work out as a job, I had the opportunity to meet -- and engage in some very entertaining political discussion with -- Han's iconic father, Joe Rueffert . . . along with making contacts in that one night that led to long term friendships for me.
For me, Hans Rueffert's simple gesture actually had consequences beyond that one night, and today I would like to try to repay some of that.
The Woodbridge Inn -- a former hotel built in the 1800's -- has been owned and operated by the Rueffert family since 1976 (well before I even moved to the community). Their efforts turned a somewhat run down old building into the premier eating and lodging establishment in Pickens County GA, with a reputation for friendly service and great food that has made it a landmark in North Georgia.
Hans, and his sister, Sonja were raised in this environment, and in the process, Hans developed an affinity for food and cooking, and has gone on to prove himself a skilled chef. He was a finalist on the reality TV show, "Next Food Network Star", and along with his own local cable / PBS cooking show "Hans Cooks the South", he has recently published his own cookbook: Eat Like There's No Tomorrow.
Unfortunately, this tale has a downside. Not long after losing his sister, Sonja, to cancer, in 2005, Hans was diagnosed with level-3 cancer of the stomach and esophagus. He was able to fight back and continue his burgeoning career, but as I write this, Hans is undergoing intensive therapy at MD Anderson in Texas, for ten brain lesions that were just recently discovered. I can't, and won't, try to explore the discomfort to him and upheaval to his family, but obviously this is troubling news. He has done a masterful job of chronicling his own painful journey on his personal blog, with which I cannot begin to compete . . . reading it has made me so much more grateful for my own health and well-being.
Hans has been forced to cancel the promotional tour for the release of his book, including a scheduled appearance on the Today Show.
With a wife and two young children (6 & 9) counting on him, those that know this gentle and generous man are taking it upon themselves to try to assist in whatever way possible. It is my hope that in the absence of his own ability to market and promote his work, I can be one among the many who are taking over to spread the word virally about his book . . . the proceeds of which will go to assist Hans and his family to make it through this very trying time.
So here is my appeal to the AR community and anyone in the North GA area familiar with The Woodbridge Inn, Hans Rueffert, or the Rueffert family . . .
This is not a solicitation of "donations" or request for anything above and beyond the ordinary!!! I simply ask that the "cooks" among you, or those considering buying a new cookbook, or thinking of giving someone a book as a gift (in this case it would be two gifts for the price of one), or any other excuse you can think of for buying a wonderful book, at least include this one in your consideration. At the very least, check out the details about the book so that you can perhaps suggest it to others . . .
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.