I have been interested in cooking from a very young age and knew early on that I wanted to go to culinary school after college. When I was younger, I would go to the kitchen and chat with the team every time we ate out for dinner.
west~bourne is committed to neighbor~hood hospitality: cooking for and giving back to our community. We're here for the big, collective “we.” And our first step is in the eclectic artists’ hub of Soho at 137 Sullivan Street. As mindful neighbors, we want to come together with the community to eat well and do even better. Through our partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation, 1% of every purchase made at west~bourne will benefit The Door, to support job training for youth in our community and to foster career paths for emerging team members.
When starting your own restaurant, you have to be self-aware of your blind spots and then find the expertise you need. You can’t be or do everything. It takes a village, so know your strengths and your passions, then find special people to surround yourself with to support the mission together.
Don’t be afraid to trust your gut. Of course, back that up with research and data, but trusting my gut has been an important advice I’ve kept throughout my career.
You want to work with great people, that's everything. I care more about someone's heart, soul, and instincts than technical skills. I look for people who are humble, hard-working, empathetic, compassionate, and earnest. They need to be curious, care about our mission and have a passion, whatever that may be.
Every day, we start work with my team by sharing with one another props, progress, and possibilities - an open forum to support one another, challenge ourselves, and push toward improving how we do everything. I want the restaurant to be a place that feels like home and a free space to share feelings and ideas. We have a program called “Embrace Your Side Hustle”: we offer monthly reimbursement for anyone who wants to do something to develop themselves, whether it be a visit to an art museum or an investment account. We do our best to treat everyone as a valued person and encourage whatever will make them flourish.
Two things I’m most excited about regarding the future of food and tech: software integration continuing to develop and expand for restaurants, so that we can improve operations; and loyalty platforms to improve data and engagement. I'm also passionate about how technology can improve the connectivity and engagement of teams.
When it comes to keeping a healthy work-life balance: first off, I have to sleep - I envy those that can run on little to no sleep, but I just wasn't gifted with that skill. So, I remind myself that unless I'm my best self I can't bring my best. Second, I get energized by being with friends and family, so I make sure that I stay social, even if that means having a group come to the restaurant so we can hang even for a bit. Third, I forever have wanderlust which drives inspiration for me, so I commit to having one adventure a week, even if that means trying a new restaurant that's just opened or popping into an exhibit nearby west~bourne ... just something to get my brain thinking outside of the box.
I would not be able to do my job without my team and a sense of humor!