Today, Naomi Pomeroy is reflecting how kitchen life has changed since she started out two decades ago. Pomeroy, a James Beard Award-winning chef, TV personality and proprietor of Beast, the 26-seater restaurant in Portland, is famous for her ballsy attitude. But as we sip tea in London’s Rosewood Hotel, she’s saying it’s time for a softer approach to running restaurants.
“I’ve realized the posturing, snide comments, once a part of kitchen culture, come from people’s insecurity, they’re unnecessary. Anthony Bourdain talked a lot about #metoo in the kitchen, he felt we all need to be accountable,” she says. “I’ve changed my tone, when I ask someone to do something, they don’t always have the power to say no. It’s about making people feel comfortable in these power dynamics. People spend a lot of time at work, they deserve to feel good.”
Pomeroy, an icon in the US restaurant scene, is an engaging, voluble character. In our scattergun conversation, there’s no straying from hot topics. Vegetarianism is discussed first: “Plant matter is absolutely the future of food.” Then Instagram: “I’m wondering about our culture, why people visit restaurants, it’s now so trendy snapping that Instagram photo,” and of her career and job prospects in the US: “I wanted to be a doctor, then I thought I’d do political science but history fascinates me. I graduated in history but in the US, even back in the 1990s, an undergraduate degree isn’t enough to get you a good job.”
Awards & Press
- James Beard Award