It's funny how life works sometimes.
When he was 15, David Smith started selling burgers for 15 cents outside Kansas City, MO.
Later, he earned a Ph.D. in chemistry and physics and became department chairman of those departments at the University of Missouri.
Today he is celebrating his 20th anniversary grilling steaks in a Midwestern style at Peachwood's restaurant at the Pasatiempo Inn and getting proclamations from the cities of Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley.
He's throwing a party at Peachwood's from 5:30-8:30 Tuesday to celebrate the four-star restaurant's second decade, with live jazz, raffles and special food for all customers.
"This will be a thank you for the customers who have been with us for 20 years," said Smith, 66.
Smith loved being a scientist, but having three daughters changed his life.
"I loved teaching at the University of MO but realized I needed to earn more income in order to raise three daughters," he wrote in a biography to celebrate the anniversary.
"What did I do—you ask? I followed my passion for the food business and opened the Triple Crown Restaurant in Kansas City. I hired many of my teacher friends, because they needed supplemental income, too."
He sold that restaurant eventually and "retired" to San Francisco in 1989, where he realized that doing nothing was nothing he liked. So he started managing the restaurant at Pasatiempo and in 1991 became chef and owner.
"Life is always filled with ups and downs," he wrote. "I have survived cancer, a triple-bypass and the challenges of a down economy, and I still remain steadfast as I look forward to the next 20 years!"
His daughters, by the way, are Jenifer, 40, who does Peachwood's sales and events; Stephanie, 34, a marine biologist for Scripps in Newport Beach; and Kimberly, 32, who received her J.D. from Lincoln University and works in a family law practice in San Jose.