The first time Slade Rushing took Allison Vines home to Tylertown, Mississippi, to meet his family, it was Thanksgiving Day, 2000. During their drive from New Orleans, where the two young chefs met rolling gnocchi in the kitchen of the now-shuttered Gerard's Downtown, Allison wondered aloud what she was in for. "You're not going to be able to keep up," Slade warned.
He didn't mention the karaoke machine.
Soon after what Allison calls "the funniest Thanksgiving dinner of my life," she and Slade boarded a train to New York City. They found jobs at some of Manhattan's best restaurants—Allison at Picholine and then Alain Ducasse, Slade at March and then Fleur de Sel—then took a quick trip back to New Orleans to get married.