It Runs in the Family
Updated: Jun 17, 2021
"She was peeling shrimp in her highchair." This is my mother's favorite line when people ask if I learned to cook from her. It's true. She was a hard working restauranteur in the Hamptons, running several kitchens and an under-the-table catering operation for friends of friends. The school bus would drop me off at her restaurant after school and I would do my homework in a booth until dinner service started. Then I was put to work bussing tables, washing dishes, and prepping food in the kitchen.
After 20 years in the restaurant industry, my mother reached the end of her rope and began doing office work. She wouldn't get home until after 6, so to make her ife easier she started teaching me how to make dinner for the family. She would leave instructions everyday.
-Boil Potatoes until soft, put in strainer. Mash with butter, salt, cheese, and milk
-At 5:00 put Meatloaf in the oven at 350 degrees
-Boil the broccoli in salt water
I slowly branched off in my teenage years, making omelettes and other simple things. Granted, most of what I created were experimental disasters. When I moved out on my own, I often called my mother for her recipes. It was my love of her food that sparked my love for cooking. After all, eating is the best part.
When I met my husband I cooked for him everyday. He would gush over the food and always exclaim, "Why aren't you a chef!?" At the time I was waiting tables going on 14 years. There was more money in waiting tables than being a line cook so, I never considered it as a profession.
I had hit it off with a customer at the restaurant I was working at and she asked me if I could be an extra set of hands for a dinner party she was hosting. Upon arriving at her house I couldn't help but notice how flustered she was. She was slaving away in the kitchen, un-showered, and her guests were arriving in 30 minutes. I offered to take over the cooking and she hesitantly agreed. Long story short, the dinner was a smash and one of her friends offered me a job cooking in her home for more money than I'd ever made waiting tables, and that was it. A few months later, Robyn's Kitchen LLC was established.