Travis Milton greets me at the door of his Richmond, Virginia, house, bearded and burly in a plaid shirt, horn-rimmed glasses, and a “Virginia is for lovers” ball cap. Peeking out from his rolled-up shirt sleeve is a tattoo of his great-grandfather’s farm logo surrounded by vegetables. He offers me whiskey before I’m through the door, and I spy his collection of Star Wars and Ghostbusters action figures in the next room. As we cross the hall, he reverently points out his grandmother’s last written recipe hanging in a small wooden frame among family photos and album covers—Rick James, Hank Williams, and Thin Lizzy.
In the living room, he’s piled at least a dozen notebooks of varying sizes on the coffee table, their open pages revealing scrawled handwriting and sketches of kitchen layouts. I’ve heard about these notebooks before. When I first met Travis at Comfort, where he was executive chef, he told me that he keeps 19 journals in various locations—restaurant kitchen, home kitchen, glove compartment, and nightstand. When ideas strike, he records them before they flit away.
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