Mailea Weger

Mailea Weger

Chef & Owner of LOU

The best advice I have received is to be patient, enthusiastic, and compassionate.

I fell in love with cooking, kitchens, and the power to create memories for guests at Café A in Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine in Paris. Before Paris, I had been working in fashion for a decade and needed a change. So I liquidated my life and bought a one-way ticket to Europe. After spending some time in Barcelona, I eventually found my way to that fantastic kitchen in Paris.
When hiring, I look for personality and commitment first. I am confident in my ability to train new employees, so sometimes the lack of hands-on experience can be overlooked in a candidate who is eager to learn.
Honestly, it's tough to maintain a healthy work/life balance in this industry. I think it's essential for businesses to respect the work/life balance and allow you to be away from work when you aren't at work. You need to be able to unwind and relax, so you return rested and happy.
My palette is very botanical, so although I'm continually finding new dishes to create, the flavor profiles are consistent. I always want an herbaceous and acidic top note.
I couldn't do this job without salt and lemons.
I've had some genuinely outstanding mentors in my career and will forever feel indebted to them. My way of paying those mentors back is to pay it forward by nurturing and advancing my employees' careers. I always try to promote my employees to a management role, rather than hiring someone from outside the organization.
I think it is essential to lead by example; I'm always side-by-side with my team whether that's on the line during the rush or helping close the dish pit.

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