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Chef Caroline Glover on Balancing New Motherhood and Maintaining a Successful Restaurant

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About this episode

#51. In this week's captivating conversation, our host welcomes a culinary powerhouse, Caroline Glover, owner of restaurant Annette and bar Traveling Mercies in Aurora, Colorado. With accolades including a James Beard award and recognition as one of Food and Wine magazine's Best New Chefs in America, Caroline's journey through the culinary world is nothing short of inspiring.

Tune in as Caroline shares her fascinating career trajectory, from honing her skills under the mentorship of April Bloomfield at The Spotted Pig in New York City to her transformative experience working at Eckerton Hill Farm. Discover how Caroline navigates the intricate balance between parenthood and professionalism, delving into the unique challenges faced by women in the culinary industry.

In a candid exchange, our host and Caroline embark on a poignant exploration of the trials and triumphs of running a business, particularly in the realm of food. This episode transcends the boundaries of a typical interview, offering listeners a compelling glimpse into the heart and soul of restaurant entrepreneurship.

Join us for a soul-stirring dialogue that promises to resonate with anyone who has experienced the joys and complexities of balancing passion, parenthood, and profession. Whether you're a seasoned chef or an avid food enthusiast, this episode is sure to leave you feeling inspired and understood.

Where to find Caroline Glover:

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:


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What We Cover

(02:43) Caroline's background in the restaurant industry

(5:22) How working at a farm inspired how Caroline cooked

(11:18) Thoughts on farm to table

(13:39) Being a mom and owning a restaurant

(23:51) How COVID changed the way Caroline thought about her business

(31:26) How Caroline maintains consistency as she starts to scale

(39:27) How Caroline approached mistakes in the past and how she approaches them now

(44:54) Caroline's thoughts on working with women in the kitchen

(52:03) What makes Caroline really angry

(55:58) The goal of finding joy in something other than parenting and the restaurant


[00:00:00] Josh Sharkey:

You're listening to season two of The meez Podcast. I'm your host, Josh Sharkey, the founder and CEO of meez, a culinary operating system for food professionals. On the show, we're going to talk to high performers in the food business, everything from chefs to CEOs, technologists, writers, investors, and more about how they innovate and operate and how they consistently execute at a high level.


And I would really love it if you could drop us a five star review anywhere that you listen to your podcast. That could be Apple, that could be Spotify, could be Google. I'm not picky. Anywhere works, but I really appreciate the support. And as always, I hope you enjoy the show.


Today's guest is a James Beard award winning chef, winner of Best New Chefs in America from Food and Wine magazine, and the current owner of Restaurant Annette in Aurora, Colorado, Caroline Glover. Caroline spent a couple years working for April Bloomfield at The Spotted Pig in New York City before really, well, diverging her career path for a bit, working for a farm, namely Eckerton Hill Farm.


I was pretty surprised when I heard this because if you don't know Eckerton Hill, it is an amazing farm and they have some of the best tomatoes in the world. Carolina and I had a pretty cathartic conversation, really, about the impact of becoming a parent on work and on business, and really more importantly, we talk about how much more difficult it is for women, no matter the scenario, to balance being a mother, being a parent, and being a professional.


I can tell you firsthand, you know, my wife, Went through so much giving birth to our two kids while still running her business. And, you know, in the beginning, the kids need the mom so much. And it's pretty weighted towards the mom. And it's a lot. And Caroline and I talk a bit about that. Also, she runs her business with her husband.


The episode turned into a bit like a two way therapy session, to be honest, on the tribulations of running a business, the perception of the value of food and how much we're able to charge for it. And the value to customers of the products that we source as restaurant operators. So I hope that some of you can relate.


And as always, I hope that you enjoy the conversation as much as I do. It's really nice to meet you. I didn't know a ton before Gia reached out and I'm surprised we haven't, you know, met, but I'm really excited to learn more about your background today. So I typically will sort of spout off, like, here's everything about Caroline, but I want to hear from you today. So just so I can learn more, maybe this, uh, and I know, obviously, you You know, CIA, and I know that you, uh, worked for April for a long time, you want to change spirit, which obviously we're going to talk about, which is awesome, but maybe fill in the blanks of, you know, how you got to where you are


[00:02:43] Caroline Glover:

Yeah. So I, I recently got into the industry as the Chili's to go girl and the small college town that I'm from. And then I was just obsessed. Yeah. I'm in Texas in college station. And so Chili's was a very busy, you know, number one visited restaurant. And that kind of like just gave me the bug for wanting to be in the industry.


I was 16 though. And so. I went to college and then after two years dropped out just because I wasn't happy. I didn't like know what I was doing. I moved out to Yosemite national park, worked in a kitchen out there and a bunch of people from the Culinary Institute of America were doing their externships there and basically just like convinced me, like, you want to go to college, you want to go to culinary school.


So I ended up just driving back to New York with them when their externship was up and had applied and was accepted and went to culinary school. And then that got me into New York city just because I was out in New York and I wanted to work for a woman chef and April was really the top of the game at that time.


So I was at The Spotted Pig. I think I became a sous chef within a year or so. I think I was 21, 22. Was there for a bit, got really burnt out, ended up moving to Pennsylvania where Eckerton Hill Farm is and there's a tomato farm or it is a tomato pepper farm, other stuff, but Tim Stark and met my husband, Nelson was there running the farm.


He went to NYU with one of my friends and we ended up farming in Vermont and then moving to Paonia, which is like a very small farming town in Colorado. Lived in a yurt, did the air B or the, um, bed and breakfast thing, got into farming for a bit, then wanted to get back into kitchens and ended up in Denver, um, cause I wanted to learn how to work with wood fire and there was a, a great road, wood fired restaurant here called Acorn.


And then after almost three years there, I ended up opening my own spot.

[00:04:35] Josh Sharkey:

So cool. I didn't realize you worked at Eckerton. I did, yeah. That's so awesome. I mean, we've bought, must be so many thousand tons of tomatoes that we've bought from Eckerton over the years. When I was working for Kunz, we would get literally like a hundred cases to make the tomato concasse.


Yes. Hours and hours because their, I mean, their tomatoes are amazing.

[00:04:55] Caroline Glover:

They're amazing. Yeah, just really beautiful. And that was like kind of in the era. I don't know what it's like anymore, but in the era of like overeducated, you know, college students going to work on farms. And so there was like, so there was, you know, like, so like four or five of us out there that just wanted to, you know, unplug and, you know, work in the tomato fields all day.

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