On this episode of The Barron Report, host Paul Barron chats with acclaimed celebrity chef, author, and restaurateur Adrianne Calvo. Calvo opened her first restaurant, Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar, in Miami in 2007, and is opening a fast casual restaurant, Cracked, this month. She has competed in Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay, had her dishes featured in Gourmet and Bon Appétit, and she regularly appears on NBC's 6 In the Mix every Thursday. Barron and Calvo discuss keeping things fresh, building a menu, and the unique struggles women face in the culinary industry.
For Calvo, real estate is always “second on the list to your product.” Having made her first restaurant—located in a strip mall—a success, and started Cracked as an artisan-driven chef sandwich food truck, she argues that location is not everything. Having a compelling brand and consistent flavor is key. “People will drive as long as it’s a good product.”
Calvo notes that her experience is uncommon to most female chefs because she owns her business. Many women struggle to rise and are quietly, but swiftly blacklisted from the industry if they have a family. Even those who do rise have to struggle with the gender pay gap and earn less than a man for the same work.
“It’s a delicate dance, the restaurant industry,” says Calvo. “I was researching how many executive chefs are women in hotels. There’s a handful in America. They can’t go up the ladder. Men are at the top of the chain.”
Calvo does not think the industry is without hope. “Roles are changing,” she notes. Men are beginning to share the load of taking care of a family. However, as Calvo adds, “It’s not going to start in the kitchens of hotels—it has to start in society as a whole.”
Check out the podcast above to learn more about the Cracked menu, crafting a “league of exceptional chefs,” and her advice for the next generation of chefs. And if you would like to keep listening, check out The Barron Report podcast on iTunes Now!