‘Hustle & Soul’ – South Beach, here they come
Conventional wisdom has it that a chef can’t cook and manage their own restaurant at the same time if they want to have a healthy personal life – or even health. There just isn’t the time and those who know say it’s the express route to burnout.
Which is why in Season 3 of “Hustle & Soul,” now airing Thursdays on WE tv, chef Lawrence Page has tasked fiancee Ana Lavender with opening the new Atlanta location of his restaurant The Pink Teacup, while he concerns himself with the opening in Miami Beach.
“I really wanted to teach her how to deal with the restaurant business one on one …,” Page explains. “I think that’s been the biggest challenge for me this year … fighting and arguing with her and trying to really teach her how to become an owner instead of an employer or a fiancee. And I think that’s very hard because she … takes things a lot more personally than I would take it. And I think that’s the biggest challenge, trying to get her on that right path so she can open up Atlanta and make sure that restaurant runs well without fighting and arguing with the staff.”
Ah yes, staff infighting – a popular pastime at the Teacup over the series’ first two seasons and one that has gained Page much experience as a referee. This season, the Alabama-born chef and restaurateur will endeavor to elevate soul food’s culinary status at the new South Beach location while entertaining celebrity clientele and dealing with the usual problems of managing people. Back in Brooklyn, Thandi is running the original restaurant while harboring a secret that concerns Lawrence. And of course, there is the Atlanta opening and Ana’s adventures there.
Running two restaurants, Page says, has matured him and sharpened his managerial and social skills in innumerable ways. Probably the most difficult part of running a business, he has found, is managing people and he looks forward to showing how much he has grown in that area in the new season.
“I went pretty much from a six to a 10,” he says, “and really trying to keep everybody calm and teach people how to work together in a hospitality business as opposed to just letting them rip each other apart over differences. And that’s one of the main things that I fight real hard for in the hospitality business, is to teach the people that work with me, look, there are other ways to get your point across than arguing and fighting. Because you deal with so much already before you go to work, so this is the last place you want to come to and really have that drama, have that hostility built up in you around people you have to work with 13 hours a day.”