This week, we're opening a restaurant. Our first, and maybe the term "restaurant" isn't quite right - it's more of a kitchen in a small, pretty box, on a big, sprawling campus we've always loved, with good friends as neighbors.
We hope to make incredibly delicious, strange fare out of that box. We hope to make people feel amazing after their meal, by using intentionally chosen ingredients. We hope to honor Ma Earth as we do this business of feeding people, by managing our waste with that same intention, working to keep everything we possibly can out of our growing landfills.
When people have asked me over the years if I wanted a restaurant one day, I would always quickly say no and shake my head. The Industry has always seemed too cruel, too dismissive of healthy mental and physical behavior. We can do SO much better than Gordon Ramsey, for lack of a better architype...but how, if margins are so narrow and expectations are so high?
The answer; by educating our customers, and reminding them that we're all one. All the same. Your waitress, bartender, or socca-slinger are just as deserving of love and human decency as you are. And so if they're having an off day, or aren't smizing as brightly as you're used to, that you practice empathy, as you would for a friend or family member not feeling ahundo.
And I'll ask for that same big-hearted empathy over the next weeks and months as we take our high-fallutin' ideas about good food and good work culture and apply them to a real-time model. Can we run a line and still make space for humans to be human? Can we make incredibly good vegan food at volume for the public and still manage our waste stream as intentionally as we're used to?
We're about to find out as we cook for our Friends & Family (that's you!) this week and in the weeks ahead. We have endless questions that can only be answered by experience. This is a time for us to poke at stuff, try ideas, and mess up, big time. We appreciate your constructive feedback, honesty, and understanding as we experiment. It's not going to be perfect at first. But nothing gorgeous ever is.
Love, Chef Julia