Sean Guy passes his restaurant’s photographer the first course — a creamy pumpkin bisque topped with a spiced heavy cream — and urges him not just to take a photo, but a bite. His mouth full, the photographer can only manage a gasp to communicate his tastebuds’ pleasure. “That’s sexy, now that’s sexy,” says Guy, pointing to his soup. 

Back in 2006, Guy had a stable job in a relatively unstable industry. As a chef at the Hard Rock Cafe, Guy could go to sleep every night knowing that he got to do what he loved that day — cook food — and that his job would be there waiting for him in the morning. A stable job, however, does not always mean a fulfilling job.

“It wasn’t my food, it wasn’t me” said Guy, a dish towel draped over his shoulder and a glass of red wine in hand. Guy knew that although risky, he would be much happier out on his own making the food that he wanted to make. 

A native New Yorker with Carribean roots, Guy opened Water For Chocolate in Baltimore’s Butcher’s Hill neighborhood in 2006. The restaurant, with apartments above and barely any signage out front, boasts just two small dining areas squeezed right in front of the kitchen giving the space an intimate feel. 

Once a month, Guy hosts a special Chef’s Table event which features a set menu determined the same day. Tickets for the event are pre-sold and usually gone hours after sales go up, even despite diners not knowing what they will be served. Guy sees the night as a unique opportunity to mingle with the restaurant’s patrons, connect, and keep innovating what’s come to be known as his signature “sexy comfort cuisine.”