How has your mom influenced your success?
We asked a handful of chefs how their moms have played a role in their professional success — check out the responses we received.
My mother taught me to make everything with my hands before I learned how to use machines like food processors or mixers. I learned how to “feel” my food, and understand it from raw ingredient to finished product. Her favorite treat was a fluffy yeast raised doughnut with hot jam, so I created the Rhubarb Rose Jam with her in mind. The dish was inspired by the pies she was so famous for, and flowers. She passed away in 2009 before I opened Doughnut Dolly.
– Hannah Hoffman of Doughnut Dolly, pictured as an infant with her late mom
My mom taught me the hallmark of Taiwanese cooking: the delicate balance of savory and sweet flavors. As with just about every Taiwanese dish, understanding how the flavors interact and knowing how to achieve the right balance is essential. She later inspired our Mama’s Roasted Chicken. It’s not a traditional Taiwanese dish, but my mom was influential in the cooking method and flavors, including the honey used to provide the sweet flavor notes. I’m proud to say that this dish has been a best seller since opening night.
– Stacy Tang of Taiwan Bento, pictured with her mom
The best advice I received from my mom was to cook food that you would feed your own children, using only those ingredients you’d want them to eat. I’m now four weeks into being a brand new mom, and I believe that more than ever.
Of the dishes that we offer for delivery through Caviar, I’d that say that our rotating ceviches are most inspired by my mom. They help me re-live the moments where we would go fishing in the coastal town of El Novillero, Nayarit. We’d enjoy fresh caught supper including crabs, clams, fish & shrimp. As for her favorite dish, my mom considers our pollo en mole negro a special treat, but her guilty pleasure is our house made chips and guacamole.
– Silvia McCollow of Nido, pictured with her mom and daughter
I have had the pleasure of working with my mother my whole life. I was born into the restaurant business, so I’ve worked with my family my whole life. I was raised above my mom’s family business, Tacconelli’s Pizzeria, closely mirroring her upbringing where she worked alongside my grandparents, aunts, and uncles her whole life. She later played a huge part in developing our menu for Mercer Cafe. Her techniques, recipes, and customer skills have all shaped the character of the restaurant today.
Growing up, my grandmother taught me many invaluable lessons about running a business. She stressed the importance of valuing our customers, providing great customer service, and building a strong work ethic. Years later, when I helped my mom and dad open Mercer Cafe, those skills scored us enough success to open a second location at the Navy Yard. At that location, we combined both family businesses, Tacconellis Pizza & Mercer Cafe, into one.
– Liza Bello of Mercer Cafe, pictured with her mom