You hear people talk about having and epiphany, well three years ago I had an epiphany. I didn't want to be that person anymore. I knew I could be better and I knew that I had yet to evolve into the person that I had the potential to be.
|Filming my On-Line show "Yo Cuz! The Italian-American Cook|
at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Speaking of brands, 2012 was the year I embarked on major branding. Okay well I always had a brand "Cafe Martorano" I built it from the ground up. It's now bigger than I could have ever imagined and its still growing, but thats not what I'm talking about. I wanted to create a brand that was almost a homage to my childhood. Something young, fresh, new, vibrant and most of all inspiring. With that said I created "Yo Cuz". You see growing up in South Philly in our neighborhood we had a lot of phrases or saying that we used. For example "Ya sistas Azz" what does that mean? Well, it can be used a few different ways.
A: What makes a great gravy? Pork butt, pigs feet, beef braciole and ya sistas azz.
B: I saw you at the club last night... Ya sistas Azz saw me at the club last night cause I was at home.
I hope you get it cause thats the only way I know how to explain it. "Yo Cuz" is something like that.
"Yo Cuz" is a term of endearment. When I was growing up we never called our cousins by their real names. We never said "Hey Marie" or "Yo Anthony" we would say "Yo Cuz" or if you were on the corner and your friend came around they wouldn't say "Yo Stevie" wether we were related or not we would say "Yo Cuz" but best of all if you forgot someones name and you ran into them and don't want to embarrass yourself or them because you forgot their name whats better than saying "Yo Cuz, How you doin'."
That was the thought process behind a lot of my endeavors in 2012. So I decided to begin a jewelry line. At the beginning I just had the idea of one bracelet but then it evolved into so much more. I am constantly telling people what the mind can conceive the mind can achieve and so I conceived it and set out to achieve it. I partnered with my friends and jewelers Mark and Robin Levinson and created the concept and drafted the designs. This was a great way to start 2012. On January 26, 2012 we hosted our first "Yo Cuz" jewelry line launch event. It was a great night and a hugh achievement to see something that I envisioned come to life and to see peoples reaction was priceless.
|There is nothing more rewarding then helping others and if |
you can get a child to believe in themselves and make a
better life for themselves then you just took one step in
helping the world be a better place Cuz.
Some people would find this hard to believe but I sleep about two to three hours a night because I'm constantly thinking of the next move. The next thing I can do to stay relevant to stay new to keep up with the changing times and yes still inspire. So guess what? I decided to do a clothing line under the "Yo Cuz" brand. The idea was to have shirts that have inspirational quotes on them. You see I put quotes on Facebook everyday and I leave an inspirational message on my voice mail every week. People were calling my phone to hear the message and not talk to me. If I answered they would say "hang up I want to hear your message" and they would call back. So why not do something that could trigger a thought in someone and motivate them. I wanted "Yo Cuz" to now become a lifestyle.
We started selling the shirts online at www.yocuzstore.com and then we got a local shop here in Fort Lauderdale on Las Olas Blvd. Shop 603 to carry the shirts as well. Its a blessing its doing so well 2013 will be even better.
I never had to travel as much as I had to this year and although it can be very tiresome it was all a blessing. I was invited to be on a national VH1 show "VH1 The Morning Buzz". Its always an honor to be on any television show but when they allow you to come and promote your brand and yourself to an audience that may not already know you. Thats a blessing and thats just what I did. I was able to promote my new wine "Martorano Chianti and Pinot Grigio". Shit most people still don't know i have my own wine but I know that no matter how successful I am at anything once embruing on any new ventures you have to take baby steps and we started crawling but we are up and walking.
|Martorano Chianti and Pinot Grigio on sale at Crown Liq.|
One of the most memorable events of 2012 was being invited to the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. They asked me along with other chefs (I'm not a chef just a cook) to cook for a VIP event of 1200 for two days. This was hard as fuck. We had to make 1200 meatballs and roll them bay hand two days in a row. With my team we got it done. The event was put on by the Food Network on the First night I got the chance to do my demo with Anne Burell.
The second night was the best not the Anne Burell wasn't fun she really was but I was really looking forward to meeting Paula Deen. Let me tell you this woman is really an inspiration to me fuck what anyone has to say about her. Ever since this event Paula has embraced me and has been nothing but nice. She even invited me to Savannah this past November to be a guest on her new show that will air 2013. We even got a chance to do the hustle on stage. It was great.
I could go on forever on all the places I went the people I met and the shows I was on but I won't. Im going to end this blog with the last two things in 2012 that meant the most to me. People have always told me that I couldn't be anything and I wouldn't be anything. People still to this day hate the fact that I have overcome so much and I'm still standing. Five years ago I embarked on the journey of opening y second restaurant in Las Vegas NV. A year after opening the restaurant I had a pain in my chest and when I went into the doctor to get it checked they found that three of my main arteries were 98 percent blocked. The next day I had a triple bypass. Many rumors circulated that I had a heart attack FALSE as a matter of fact heart disease in my family is hereditary so people if its the same case in your family please go get checked. They also said that I lost the restaurant in Las Vegas. You see the reality is that many people want to see me fall but I got a surprise for them. I just celebrated my 5th year anniversary at Martorano's Las Vegas. That was a huge milestone in my life because everybody said I would fail.
|Robyn Leach, Steve Martorano, Mike Severino|
2012 was great 2013 is going to be even better. YO CUZ!
Dictated by Steve Martorano