I’ve often heard the career advice, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  Despite my excellent qualifications and extensive experience, however, I was unable to find someone willing to pay me to lie on my sofa and watch Law & Order marathons. So I did the next best thing: I took a magazine editing job in New Orleans. This job combines my love of New Orleans with my love of fonts, grammar, words and colors. There’s never been a time in my life as a literate person when I haven’t had at least one magazine subscription, beginning with Jack and Jill, evolving up through Seventeen and the now-defunct YM and taking us right up to the present day, when I get such high-brow publications as the New Yorker to distract the mailman from the Entertainment Weeklys.

Doing what I love, day in and day out, works splendidly most of the time, and I fully acknowledge how lucky I am. But there are some days when I come home from work and the very last thing I want to do is read a magazine. My eyes are tired, my brain is full of words, and I know if I pick up a magazine, even one I’m not responsible for, I will be checking to make sure every photo has a credit and second-guessing the copy editor’s comma usage. When what you love becomes your life’s work, sometimes you realize you no longer have a hobby.

Knowing this, I was very eager to see the chefs’ kitchens that we profile in this issue. I was sure that someone would say: “I took out the appliances and turned my kitchen into a rec room. We order pizza every night.” I must’ve forgotten that this is New Orleans, where no one, not even professional chefs, ever tires of cooking, eating or talking about cooking and eating. The three kitchens we feature –– those of Brian Landry of Galatoire’s; Donald Link of Herbsaint, Cochon and Cochon Butcher; and Michael Farrell of Le Meritage –– are all shrines to their shared love of food. And the old saying about the cobbler’s children going shoeless does not apply here: All three men enjoy cooking with their children, hoping to instill in them a lifelong love of cuisine.
In addition to the importance of loving what you do, you should also love where you live. The homeowners of the Metairie French château-style house we’re featuring this month definitely took that idea to heart. They made careful, well-researched decisions about the way they would build their home, incorporating details and elegant touches that they had always admired. And they took their time while decorating, eschewing fads and buying quality furniture that they truly adore and expect to keep for the rest of their lives.

Fads may come and go, but July heat is forever in New Orleans. We have a TrendWatch for summer entertaining that encourages you to get out and embrace the weather, as well as a recipe for Southern-style barbecue ribs. But if you don’t feel like sweating over a grill, if you’d rather spend your leisure time in the air conditioning, no one will judge you.

In fact, that’s where you’ll find me on July Fourth, sprawled on the sofa, AC cranked as high as it goes, watching the all-day Law & Order marathon.