SK: We first met when we were both working at adjoined businesses called the Brooklyn Kitchen and Meat Hook. Brooklyn Kitchen is a kitchen supply store and event space. Sarah was working there, and the Meat Hook is a butcher shop where I was working. We were both kind of in the back doing some grunt work — Sara was putting price stickers on things and I was shredding bus tubs and bus tubs of cabbage.
SH: I’d say for both of us it was transitionary, maybe for me more than you.
SK: Yeah, for me, I just needed to fill my time, and I knew the people who worked there and owned the place, who I’d worked with at another butcher called Marlowe and Daughters.
SH: I was working as a cook previously, and truthfully I was in a relationship that was failing because I had no time. And then I was like, maybe I need a more sustainable life. So I was hoping to meet people that were looking to do experimental food-related things — a community interested in food but not working in restaurants. Though that didn’t happen there. I was there for two months, maybe, and then left. Really not happy. I was really bored.
SK: So we met but we didn’t really ever speak. I think we were in different universes within those two places. Though sometimes it was actually just the two of us in this back room.
SK: I’d be walking in and out and there was no conversation. I maybe tried to be like, “Hey.”
SH: I probably tried to be like, “Hey.”
SK: And we were both just doing our work. And I was like “Who’s the weird circus girl?” She also had a funny haircut at the time.
SH: I had a bowl cut, it was a very queer bowl cut.
SK: I was just trying to do my job and was kinda angry that I had so much cabbage to cut. But Sarah came up to me that last day she was working
there and said, “I’m gonna go work at Blue Hill.” I assumed she told me this because I had worked there, and because it’s a very difficult place to work as a cook. I didn’t even know that she had been a cook, or anything about her except that she did circus. So I think I said, “Well, good luck.”
SH: And I was like, “Wow, she’s a bitch.”
SK: I didn’t even know she was a cook and it’s a hard place to work, and I was like “Who is this circus hussy who wants to go cook at Blue Hill?” Anyway, I barely thought about her again. Until I had opened Glasserie in Brooklyn, the first place I was the chef at. We had been open for about two months when Sarah came in to eat.
SH: At this point I knew about you because I had a bunch of friends that went through the Marlowe Diner world. It had been about four years. I had worked at Blue Hill for two years, then Mission Chinese, then traveled… I was trying to figure out where I wanted to work. I was thinking about Gramercy Tavern; I had been offered a position there.
SK: And I was like, “Oh you’re not working anywhere yet? Are you looking for a job? Work with me, PLEASE!”
SH: I really liked the food at Glasserie; I was surprised just how much.
SK: And I really needed help. I had already gone through two sous chefs. One was arrested the first day we opened. Then I hired another guy who didn’t stay very long. So I was on my third sous chef in three months when Sarah started. It was very hard. Very very hard. In the beginning at a certain point it was me, a cook, and a dishwasher, and the dishwasher was doubling as a prep cook and the salad cook.
SH: Oh my god Kenji.
SK: He was this very weird half-Japanese guy who lived in Jersey and was an artist.
SH: And was such an eyesore.
SK: Such an eyesore.
SH: But also he was so great.
SK: So awesome.
SH: If only we could have Kenji here.
SK: But he was also a total alcoholic. He was great, but not really a cook, and not really a dishwasher. Anyway I was miraculously able to convince Sarah to come work with us.
SH: I was interested in seeing where this would take me. I knew exactly what I would get out of working at Gramercy Tavern. But I didn’t really know what would happen working with Sara.
SK: We had a good creative collaboration, a not-dissimilar style of working and of how we wanted to run things. But when a year later I put in my notice, I knew the owner was gonna try to have her take over for me. So I was like “Uh, no” and approached Sarah about leaving as well.
SH: It all happened so fast. The owner approached me; I was like, “Hell no.” And then at the same time, we took a trip to LA together.
SK: It was a scope trip. My boyfriend was from here, so that was a big draw for me, but also I had wanted to leave New York for a long time, mostly because I wanted to have a different experience somewhere.
SH: It’s funny — I feel like for me, it was another moment where I said, “I don’t know exactly where this is gonna take me; I’m just gonna go with it, because it’s interesting and potentially very fruitful in a lot of ways. Gotta be open-minded about it.”
SK: And here we are! Downtown LA! Falafel!