I grew up spending my summers and school breaks on the back porch of my grandparents house in Nipomo, just a few miles north of Santa Maria. We would spend every night out back at the BBQ grill slow cooking Tri-tip, fresh from the small butcher shop in Santa Maria. We'd have a pot of Santa Maria Pinquitos cooking in the corner of the grill and a Kielbasa to nibble on as the meat cooked. During racing season we could hear the Santa Maria Speedway just a few miles away. Every couple weeks we would head over to the Elk's Lodge in Santa Maria and grill up pounds of Tri-Tip and Chicken. At the age of 5 I told him i was going to be three things in life, A superhero, a teacher and a Chef, as he had told me many stories of his years as a boy cooking for his brothers and how he had always wanted to pursue culinary. But it was war time so being the rebel he is, he 'fudged' his birthday a little and headed to the European front. Papa Dale always supported any odd, weird or fanciful journey i took ( one day you will see the 'hair' pictures I'm sure). When my disabilities got to hard to handle and I wanted to drop out of school, and try something easier, he pushed me back to the kitchen.I'm glad he did. I lost my best friend and mentor in 2001 to cancer. But his spirit of love, learning, comfort and the joy of those nights on the back porch live on.