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Angie Mar Transcript

“Chef Angie Mar is a Star” Transcript

Madhur Jaffrey: Hi. This is Madhur Jaffrey, and you're listening to Radio Cherry Bombe. You're the bombe.

Kerry Diamond: Hi Bombesquad. Welcome to Radio Cherry Bombe, where we talk to the most interesting women in and around the world of food. I'm your host Kerry Diamond. We have a great show for you today. I know I say that every week, but it's really true this week.

Kerry Diamond: I'm here with our producer Jess Zeidman at The Beatrice Inn in New York's West Village, and we're about to interview the restaurants absolute force of a chef, Angie Mar. Angie took The Beatrice Inn from ho-hum to white hot through talent and a hell of a lot of hustle. She just released her very first cookbook, Butcher and Beast, and it doesn't look like any cookbook out there. It is, like everything she does, very Angie. Chic, cool, creative and very carnivorous.

Kerry Diamond: Thank you to the sponsors of today's podcast, Le Cordon Bleu, the world's most prestigious group of culinary schools. And Emmi, the makers of beautiful cheese from Switzerland, like my favorite, Gruyère.

Kerry Diamond: We have some housekeeping. Radio Cherry Bombe is headed to Kansas City, Missouri on Monday, November 4 for our Food For Thought Tour. We'll be hanging out with the Missouri Bombesquad at Corvino. You can snag a ticket at And thank you very much to Kerrygold for supporting our tour.

Kerry Diamond: Jubilee Seattle tickets are sold out. Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket. We're also doing another fun event in Seattle on Sunday, November 3. We're hosting a guest chef dinner at the London Plane. Chef Zara Duncanson will be cooking with Cherry Bombe's culinary director Kia Damon. You can visit the London Plane website or check out our Instagram for tickets and more information. We'll be right back with Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn after this message.

Kerry Diamond: Hey Bombesquad, let's talk about Emmi cheese from Switzerland. Emmi's beautiful variety of cheeses are crafted from the freshest milk from local Swiss farms. One of our favorites is Emmi Le Gruyère AOP. With notes of candied walnuts, spice and dried fruit, Emmi's Le Gruyère AOP is perfect for snacking. And if you want to get more creative, you can do what Chef Elizabeth Faulkner does and make an apple and Le Gruyère crumble. This perfect fall recipe is fragrant with nutmeg and cinnamon, and the apple and Gruyère are perfect companions. Make it next level by melting some Emmi Raclette on top.

Kerry Diamond: Looking for something more savory? How about this special recipe from Chef Elizabeth? French Onion Soup Pizza with Emmi Gruyère AOP, fresh thyme and mushrooms. You can find these recipes and more at, and you can find Emmi's delicious cheeses from Switzerland, the ones with the distinctive blue and red logo, at your favorite grocery store or cheese monger.

Kerry Diamond: Enjoy my conversation with Angie Mar.

Kerry Diamond: Angie Mar.

Angie Mar: Hi.

Kerry Diamond: Hello. How are you?

Angie Mar: I'm very well.

Kerry Diamond: I can't believe you're ... Well you're sitting, you're not standing. But I was going to say I can't believe you're still standing. You have had quite the month already.

Angie Mar: Yes. It's been a little bit crazy, but in a good way.

Kerry Diamond: How are you feeling?

Angie Mar: Good. Really, really good. It's exciting, it's overwhelming, and I think it's just starting to sink in.

Kerry Diamond: Are you open tonight?

Angie Mar: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kerry Diamond: You're open seven days a week, right?

Angie Mar: No, six days.

Kerry Diamond: Six days. What's your day of rest?

Angie Mar: Supposedly Sunday, but we've had private events on Sunday for the past three weeks.

Kerry Diamond: Well, you look like a rock star.

Angie Mar: Thank you.

Kerry Diamond: Seriously. I don't know how you do it.

Angie Mar: It's all the concealer.

Kerry Diamond: It's not all the concealer. You look amazing. I'm impressed that this is how you roll into work at 11 in the morning. So, bravo you.

Angie Mar: Thank you.

Kerry Diamond: All right, so you got into the chef game kind of late.

Angie Mar: I did.

Kerry Diamond: You worked in real estate in your 20s, right?

Angie Mar: Yeah, I did.

Kerry Diamond: How did you wind up in real estate?

Angie Mar: Well, like any good daughter that was being told to go to medical school or become a lawyer or own a business, none of that stuff was for me so I decided that I was going to be in corporate real estate and sell very big office buildings, and so that's what I did.

Kerry Diamond: And you wound up in Los Angeles, right?

Angie Mar: Yeah, I was in L.A. for 12 years.

Kerry Diamond: So, for 12 years.

Angie Mar: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: So, when did you decide I really, really want to be a chef?

Angie Mar: Well, I kind of got sick of corporate life. I couldn't do it anymore, and I really wanted to do something creative. So I left my job and I traveled all over Europe and East Africa, and was just kind of really trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I was just like I have a lot of money saved up. I'm just going to go travel, I'm going to do the thing and live my best life, and I did. When I was in Spain, that's when I realized I should really be cooking. I should just be cooking.

Angie Mar: So yeah, I basically ran out of money, came back to the States, and put my last fifty, sixty thousand dollars in a culinary school and moved to New York.

Kerry Diamond: Where did you go to culinary school?

Angie Mar: The French Culinary Institute.

Kerry Diamond: Okay. So you come from a restaurant family.

Angie Mar: Mm-hmm (affirmative), I do.

Kerry Diamond: So, is this just you fulfilling your destiny?

Angie Mar: You know, I think I should have been doing this all along. I think that being in the corporate world was probably just like a pit stop for me. But I'm glad that I did it. I'm glad that I did it because there's so much about this, it's not just ... There's the creative aspect, which is amazing, and that's why we all do it, but the reality is that this is a business. So, I think had I not had that experience I wouldn't have been able to run a business.

Kerry Diamond: Absolutely.

Angie Mar: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: But you worked for other people when you were in real estate, right?

Angie Mar: I did, yeah. I did.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah. So, tell us about your family. You have a famous aunt who really was a trailblazer in Seattle. Tell us about her.

Angie Mar: Yeah. Well my aunt was Ruby Chow, and she was a restaurateur and politician in Seattle. She opened up her restaurant, which was called Ruby Chow's, in 1948.

Kerry Diamond: Best name.

Angie Mar: Yeah, best name, best name. Yeah, so she opened that up in 1948, and it was coming out of the war. If you were Chinese in America, you legally could not own a business unless it was a restaurant or a laundromat because there was actually a law called the Chinese Exclusionary Act. So, that's how my family got into the business. They didn't do it out of passion, they did it out of necessity. They had to make a living.

Angie Mar: But I think over the years it became a passion, because it wasn't just my aunt that had the restaurant, but a lot of my other family members had restaurants. One of my other aunts had a frozen food business. So, that was really how I grew up, was running around my cousins or my uncles or aunties restaurants and running around a frozen food factory.

Kerry Diamond: Was your Aunt Ruby alive when you were younger?

Angie Mar: She was, yeah. Yeah, she was. She had a really big part in raising me. I lived a block away from her.

Kerry Diamond: What was she like?

Angie Mar: She was a force. She was so incredible. She was a force. My dad was one of ten kids. He's got sisters, and they were all just really, really strong women. It's like in our family, it's like the women run everything.

Kerry Diamond: Do you remember her restaurant?

Angie Mar: No, it was closed by the time I was born, but she just had this incredible sense of hospitality. It was just so insane. I grew up going over to her house every week and having Sunday supper over there, or she would be over at my dad's house and we'd have Sunday supper over there. She was a very incredible woman.

Kerry Diamond: Does anything remain? Recipes, photos, journals?

Angie Mar: Recipes. Yeah, absolutely. Photos, just the family ... I have so much stuff in storage from that. Bruce Lee was a dishwasher in her kitchen, and she was actually very good friends with Warren Magnuson, who was responsible for repealing the Chinese Exclusionary Act. So, a lot of that remains.

Angie Mar: And coincidentally, it's really funny because when I was a kid my dad used to say, "You're just like your Aunt Ruby. You're just like her. You're so stubborn." This was when I was like five. Coincidentally, she and I have the exact same birthday, which is June 6.

Kerry Diamond: What's your sign?

Angie Mar: I'm a Gemini.

Kerry Diamond: Okay.

Angie Mar: Yeah. Shocking, right? But yeah, so we had the exact same birthday, and it's just interesting now, because when I think about the parallels between Ruby Chows and The Beatrice Inn and the life that she had and the one that I'm building, it's very, very similar. I guess my dad must have been right all the time.

Kerry Diamond: Do you think you'll ever do a project connected to what she started?

Angie Mar: It's all in the works, Kerry.

Kerry Diamond: Okay, okay. I can't wait. I can't wait.

Angie Mar: It's all in the works.

Kerry Diamond: So, I'm dying to see. You and I have talked about her for a few years now, so one of these days I would love to see some photos and a menu.

Angie Mar: Absolutely. Well, when we're in Seattle.

Kerry Diamond: Okay. Okay.

Angie Mar: Yeah, when we're in Seattle together, for sure.

Kerry Diamond: Great. That would be fun. That would be fun.

Kerry Diamond: All right, so you're at culinary school. It's clear you've got the skills.

Angie Mar: I mean, I hope so.

Kerry Diamond: What was your first gig out of culinary school?

Angie Mar: I worked for Andrew Tarlow. I was at Diner and Marlow & Sons, and then I went off to go open Reynard with him. And then after that I went to the Spotted Pig and worked for April, and then came here.

Kerry Diamond: What were you learning about yourself as a chef?

Angie Mar: You know, I learned that I think I've always taken myself very seriously from the get-go. As you know, I'm very much low-key. I'm very just working all the time.

Kerry Diamond: I don't know if I would use the term low-key, but yes, you work all the time.

Angie Mar: I work all the time. Really, you don't think I'm low-key?

Kerry Diamond: I don't think you're low-key. It makes me want to look up the definition of low-key.

Angie Mar: I mean, okay. But you know, I work all the time and I think that's kind of like always been my thing, is that I've always just taken myself really seriously and just been there to work or to learn, and that's really it. I'm still that way. I just haven't changed.

Kerry Diamond: So, Andrew's organization is very different from The Spotted Pig organization. I don't know if you want to say anything about your time at The Spotted Pig.

Angie Mar: Yeah, well it was really interesting, because what I learned from Andrew was I really learned how to cook there, right? The menu would change every single day.

Kerry Diamond: Andrew gets a lot of credit for establishing what came to be known as sort of like Brooklyn cuisine. He was an early player when Brooklyn was emerging as a force in the restaurant world.

Angie Mar: Absolutely. Yeah, and it was really interesting because at his restaurants the menu changes every single day, and there's no prep cooks. I would go in and I would be like, if there were carrots on the menu I was taking them out of a trash bag and scrubbing mud off of them because they had just been pulled out of the ground three hours before. And that's really it. It taught me how to work fast, it taught me how to work really hard, it taught me how to work very clean.

Angie Mar: But Andrew himself, I think is just a phenomenal guy, and what I really learned from him is the sense of hospitality. Not just with guests, but with his employees. He would come into Reynard or Diner, wherever he was, and he would go around the room and he would shake hands with every single employee every single day. He would say hello, and then he would do the same thing before he left and he would say goodbye and thank everybody for being there. That always really stuck with me, because I just think that it's how we should run a business. Right? He never Irish exited, he never did any of that. He really took a personal interest in everybody, and that really left an impression on me.

Angie Mar: And even now when I see him, one of the nicest things that he ever says to me is, when I see him at events he says, "I'm proud of you because you've done me proud." And he's like, "All of your success is my success, too, and I'm so proud of you." It's so lovely that he even remembers me, because he's got multiple different restaurants and has done all these different things, but he still remembers me there, and that really leaves an impression. So, it's fantastic.

Angie Mar: Yeah, so I wanted to come back to the city and cook, and I went to The Spotted Pig. April gave me a dedication to perfection in food, and I never realized that that level of perfection existed before. For me, that's something that I will always thank her for, because it carried over to the way I run my kitchen today. Like the perfection in each dish, and whether parsley is a quarter of an inch too big, or whatever. I really found an appreciation for getting the best ingredients possible, and that is something that I didn't know before.

Angie Mar: I wasn't with her that long. I was there for maybe a year before I came over to The Beatrice, but it definitely had an impression on me.

Kerry Diamond: Were you surprised by the allegations against Ken regarding all the harassment?

Angie Mar: No, absolutely not. Yeah, I would be shocked if he was surprised.

Kerry Diamond: Did that also inform how you run The Beatrice?

Angie Mar: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: Because you learned from the good and the bad.

Angie Mar: Yeah, you learn from the good and the bad, and I think that the culture at The Pig is, what it was then is something that I never really partook in because as I mentioned earlier, I was never there to be anybody's friend. I was never there to kick it and have a drink at the end of the night. I was literally there to work and to learn as much as I could, because that's all I've ever been. But that's also how I run my restaurant now. It's like we have a completely dry house. There's no shift drinks. We are here to work and to learn.

Kerry Diamond: Shift drink, for those of you who don't know what that means, it's a long tradition that at the end of the shift everybody gets a free drink on the house.

Angie Mar: I don't do that.

Kerry Diamond: And post Me Too, a lot of people realize that it was a tradition that needed to end.

Angie Mar: Yeah. But we were doing it before Me Too. I've been doing that since 2013 when I got here. I took over the restaurant from Graydon, and it was like, "No, it's a dry house." But that's just always how I've been. Kerry, how many times do you really ever see me out and about socializing? Not that often.

Kerry Diamond: True, true.

Angie Mar: Yeah, and when I am, I'm having water. That's just kind of how I am. So yeah, so for me when I took over my own kitchen, it was definitely something that I wanted was to have everybody just very focused. It's more about the team building, and the team building based off of bettering each other as cooks and as restaurant professions versus the team building that centers around having a beer at the end of the night. Does that make sense?

Kerry Diamond: Absolutely. So when you were at The Pig, it was a very happening place. The Beatrice Inn was not a happening place.

Angie Mar: No, it was not.

Kerry Diamond: How did they get you over here?

Angie Mar: Well, it took two months and a lot of convincing. They called me and I didn't want the job. It had just gotten this terrible review in The Times, and I was like, "That's career suicide. I don't want to do it."

Kerry Diamond: And it had a very high profile owner at the time, Graydon Carter, who was the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. Was Graydon the one calling you?

Angie Mar: No, it was his partners, and I just didn't want to do it. I didn't fully understand what it would be, what it would mean for me to take over this space. Pat LaFrieda is a very dear friend of mine, and he's the one who told me, he was like, "You have to take the job. Nobody's paying attention right now. It just got a terrible review. It's never going to get reviewed again. Go learn on somebody else's dime." And that's what I did.

Kerry Diamond: That's interesting advice.

Angie Mar: Isn't it?

Kerry Diamond: Yeah.

Angie Mar: Yeah, the man's never steered me wrong.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah, he's a big mentor of yours, which we will get to. So, you take over The Bea, as you like to call it, and what did you find when you got here?

Angie Mar: Oh my God. I mean, it was insane. It was a lot of guests that were like, "I want this, this, this, and this," and none of those things were on the menu. You know what I mean?

Kerry Diamond: So it was a fancy diner?

Angie Mar: Yeah, it was just like one of those things.

Kerry Diamond: Were they spoiled friends of the owners?

Angie Mar: I think it was more the crowd that it attracted. I don't necessarily know if they knew each other, but I think it was just more of the crowd that it attracted. As we talk about it now, how I never kowtow to anybody, it's like I was definitely like that then. I think it's gotten worse now because my name is on the lease, so I feel that I can do that more so. But in 2013 it was a battle. Not just with guests, but also internally with employees, because it wasn't the place that was known for great customer service, was known for a lot of time and care and effort put into taking care of our guests and each other. So it was like a battle for me to really get it to where ... To start to turn it around.

Kerry Diamond: So, how do you even do that? So, you've got to keep it open. You can't close it. You've got to keep bringing money in, but at the same time you've got to change everything.

Angie Mar: Yeah. And I obviously didn't own it then, but at the very least I had control of the kitchen.

Kerry Diamond: You had your pride.

Angie Mar: Yeah, exactly. I had my integrity, I had my pride, and my dignity. And look, it was my first week here, and the first thing I did was I got in, kind of looked how everybody was working, and there was no real integrity in the food and the cooking. It was just kind of like the cooks in the kitchen had this culture of like, "Let's just send it out, and we'll fix it on the next one." I would die if I ever did that. I would die. And the first thing I did, I think it was second day, I walked in and there was a pastry chef who was just here during the day. He wasn't even working service, and I was like, "You make how much an hour? You make how much?" I was like, "You've got to go. I'll do my own desserts."

Angie Mar: Because really, it's just again, it comes back to how you run a business, because it's about money, and it's about how we manage it. Right? And it's about working efficiently and having the right people, and I personally would rather have less people on my team, but the right people on my team. I'd rather have us all roll up our sleeves and do everything the way that things should be done versus having bodies to just fill slots and shifts, because that never does anybody any good. When you're just filling bodies into a schedule, it's just more about okay, let's just fill bodies. Who cares if they do a good job, I just need to cover it.

Angie Mar: There's times that people will come in the restaurant and I won't have a porter, or somebody calls out, I'll be washing the dishes myself. But that's just what we do, you know? That's what we do, and it's what we have to do. It was a very slowly process to turn it around.

Kerry Diamond: It was slow. I mean, when I look back it looks like you did is so quickly, but it probably didn't feel like that.

Angie Mar: When I bought it. No, no, no, no, no. I mean, it wasn't until I bought it in 2016 where it was like, "Okay, I get to do everything my way."

Kerry Diamond: But you got a great review before you bought it.

Angie Mar: I didn't.

Kerry Diamond: Wait, when did the Pete-

Angie Mar: No, no, no.

Kerry Diamond: Did the Pete review come after you bought it?

Angie Mar: Yeah, right after I bought it. He wasted no time.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, so you really did get to kind of operate under the radar.

Angie Mar: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: Okay.

Angie Mar: Well, I bought it April of 2016, and we didn't say anything.

Kerry Diamond: All right, so let's talk about that.

Angie Mar: That was the thing, we kept it a secret.

Kerry Diamond: Got it.

Angie Mar: Yeah, because I knew that as soon as people found that we bought it from Graydon-

Kerry Diamond: Because that's a big news story.

Angie Mar: Yeah. That we would just get reviewed immediately, and I wasn't ready for that. So I bought it in April, my partner who's my cousin, she and I said nothing to anybody, not even our closest friends. I used that entire summer to recipe test and streamline and pick out plateware, and do all the things that I needed to do.

Kerry Diamond: How much did it change from before you owned it to when you finally owned it?

Angie Mar: A lot. A lot. It definitely changed a lot. It was always a battle, because this place was never known for its food, and I'm all about food.

Kerry Diamond: Right, it was like a club before it became a restaurant.

Angie Mar: Pretty much, yeah.

Kerry Diamond: It has a long New York history.

Angie Mar: It has a long New York history.

Kerry Diamond: But before Graydon took it over it had been a club famous for like-

Angie Mar: Exactly. Well you know, I still get people walking in the door that are like, "Oh, this is Graydon Carter's restaurant." I'm like, "Have you been living under a rock for the last three years? Where've you been?"

Angie Mar: So, we bought in April of 2016, said nothing. Kept the exact same menu that whole summer, even though it killed me. I kept the exact same menu, ran a couple of the new things as specials just to get it all down. I think it went public end of July in 2016, and I shut the doors immediately that week, because I was like, "No, it's not going to happen." So I shut the doors, all of August we were closed, and that's when we really finalized the menu and did all the things-

Kerry Diamond: How did you get the money to purchase the restaurant?

Angie Mar: I'm very fortunate that I went into business with my cousin, and we just really scraped together everything we had to buy it. And look, by the time we opened this restaurant, we had no money. We had zero money. I was in London cooking that August for a week, and we didn't have the plateware that we wanted, and one of the big things at The Beatrice that everybody loves is all this beautiful silver and pewter plateware, and the cut crystal glass and its stuff. And everybody's like, "Oh my God, it's so beautiful," and I'm like, "Well, little did you know that that comes out of us being completely broke." I took the last $2,000 out of our bank account in London at an ATM on Portobello Road, and literally walked down Portobello and haggled with all of the old women there just for silver spoons and plateware and all these things. Then I bought a suitcase for 25 quid and packed it all in my suitcase and brought it back, and that's how we opened the restaurant.

Kerry Diamond: So you opened with no capital?

Angie Mar: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: That's really stressful, having done that.

Angie Mar: It's scary.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah, it's very scary.

Angie Mar: It's so scary, because it's like we spent it all buying the business, and lawyers and all this other stuff.

Kerry Diamond: That's a lot of pressure on you. So you've got all that financial pressure, you've bought this restaurant from this famous New Yorker.

Angie Mar: Right.

Kerry Diamond: All eyes are on you.

Angie Mar: Right. So, so much pressure. And then Pete walks in.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, so soon.

Angie Mar: Not even a month.

Kerry Diamond: No.

Angie Mar: He didn't even give me a month, yeah.

Kerry Diamond: Pete Wells, being the restaurant critic of the New York Times.

Angie Mar: Yeah. Look, there's two star reviews and then there's two star love letters, and I think we definitely got a two star love letter. I've had to make my peace with the culinary gods that I'm never going to get a James Beard Award, because I walked out of my own dinner at the James Beard House.

Kerry Diamond: Why? I would never say never.

Angie Mar: No, no, no. I walked out of my own dinner.

Kerry Diamond: You'll get a James Beard Award. Don't be dramatic.

Angie Mar: I walked out of my own dinner at the James Beard House to come cook for Pete.

Kerry Diamond: That was a good reason.

Angie Mar: Yeah. It was really, I had to go.

Kerry Diamond: You'll get one. Want to bet right now? I'll bet you 50 bucks.

Angie Mar: It's like, "I have to go."

Kerry Diamond: You'll get a James Beard Award in the next three years.

Angie Mar: Oh, we'll see. But the interesting thing though, Kerry, is that all the accolades have kind of stopped mattering to me.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah.

Angie Mar: That's the thing. It's like Michelin, James Beard, I actually don't really care anymore, and it's been interesting because that's kind of like a recent revelation in the past year and a half for me. Where it's like I opened the restaurant and we got this amazing review from Pete Wells, and then Jordana and Food & Wine Best In Chef, which was such an honor. And then after that I felt like I kind of lost my way, where I was just like, "Okay, what's the next accolade? What's the next accolade? We have to achieve all these things."

Angie Mar: Until I realized that I was so creatively blocked that I couldn't come up with any food that I really loved, and that was really hard for me because I'm all about the creative ethos of this restaurant, right? It was then that I realized, I was like, "Holy shit, I stopped cooking for me and I'm cooking for critics now. I've got to stop that."

Angie Mar: And so then, when I realized that I just said, "You know what? My restaurant is busy. I have a great review from The Times. I'm happy here and my team is happy, and we're building something, so why should I cook for anybody else and try to put my standards at Michelin or whatever? Who cares? I don't care anymore." And as soon as I took that mindset, I've never been so relaxed and free and comfortable in my own creativity and in my own home, as when I just said, "(Beep) it, I'm not going to do anything else. I just want to do what we do."

Kerry Diamond: That's so interesting you say that because you, versus a lot of chefs in this country and this city just in general, have such a strong culinary signature. How did that develop?

Angie Mar: Well, I don't go out to eat. I stopped going out to eat awhile ago because I felt like I was starting to get influenced by everybody else's ideas, and I don't follow a lot of people on social media. I don't want to. And it's not because I don't care, it's just because actually there's so much information and if you actually look at a lot of people's feeds, everybody's food looks the same. There's all these trends in dining and whatever. I've never really followed that and my food doesn't follow that, and I felt like if I was going out to eat and I was following these people on social and looking at all these other things that I was going to subconsciously get influenced. So I stopped that, and unfollowed everybody. I stopped going out to eat. I only go eat sushi because it's vastly different from what I do, and pasta, and that's really it. But-

Kerry Diamond: I could handle that.

Angie Mar: Yeah, sushi and pasta.

Kerry Diamond: Only going out to eat for sushi and pasta, yeah.

Angie Mar: Yeah, and I have the best beef in the city anyway, so why would I want to go eat anybody else's beef? So I was like let me just put everybody on mute and do this, and just only focus on what I want me ideas to be and what I want my food to be. And a lot of my food isn't inspired the season or a protein. My creativity and when I'm designed a new season's menu, it comes off of artwork or fashion or something like that. It's not like, "Oh, it's spring, we should cook lamb. What goes with lamb?" I don't care about that. It doesn't make sense. Really, at the end of the day it's whatever protein ends up on the plate or whatever the dish is, it's truly just a vehicle to relay to our diner's the inspiration and what the message and what the ethos of the menu's and the season is. And that can come from anywhere.

Angie Mar: This is autumn I became very obsessed with the Dior haute couture show, which I thought was beautiful, and it was done entirely in black. And it was just like-

Kerry Diamond: And they finally have a female designer.

Angie Mar: It was amazing, right? That whole line, I was so in awe by it because it was done completely in black and it was so feminine, but it was strong and it was modern and it was architectural. It really forced me to go back and to look at the details in very classic French cuisine, and how to make that modern and how to make that feminine. That's really what our autumn menu is based on is that Dior haute couture show.

Kerry Diamond: Very cool. I had no idea.

Angie Mar: Yeah, it's fun.

Kerry Diamond: We're going to take a quick break, and we'll be right back with Angie.

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Kerry Diamond: We're back with Angie Mar.

Kerry Diamond: So you are an unabashed champion of all things meat, and we are living in a plant based world.

Angie Mar: We are. Well, according to The Times a week and a half ago, they said that it's okay, you can eat meat now.

Kerry Diamond: It is okay? It's so confusing.

Angie Mar: Yeah, it's so confusing

Kerry Diamond: It's so confusing. All plant based, is meat okay? But you don't care.

Angie Mar: I don't care. I think everything should be done in moderation, you know? It's not like I'm sitting here eating-

Kerry Diamond: Moderation is the last word I thought would come out of your mouth.

Angie Mar: I know, I know. It's the word of the day.

Kerry Diamond: You're not exactly the queen of moderation.

Angie Mar: I know, but it's not like I'm sitting here just eating a steak every single night. That's not what I do. But everything should be in moderation, and I just eat what I love and I cook what I love, and I just don't overdose on it.

Kerry Diamond: How do you feel about the whole plant based meat trend?

Angie Mar: I can't. I just can't. I can't. I can't, because it's just-

Kerry Diamond: No Impossible Burger for Angie?

Angie Mar: No. No Impossible Burger for me.

Kerry Diamond: You won't come with me to Dunkin Donuts and try that fake egg sausage sandwich?

Angie Mar: No, I won't do it. You can let me know how it is though.

Kerry Diamond: So you wouldn't even experiment with it at home for kicks?

Angie Mar: No. No I won't. I just, I can't. I just can't get behind it because I want the real thing.

Kerry Diamond: Meat is meat, and a plant is a plant.

Angie Mar: You know what I mean? I want the real thing, and I don't want vegetables masquerading as meat because why? I might as well just eat meat. It's fine. I mean according to The Times it is now.

Kerry Diamond: How heavily do you get into the supplier side of things. I know you work really closely with Pat LaFrieda, the meat guy of all of New York.

Angie Mar: Yeah, exactly.

Kerry Diamond: But are you talking to farmers, ranchers, growers?

Angie Mar: You know, Pat is really amazing in the fact that he handpicks my meat for this restaurant himself, and then I'm up there once a month. So basically they'll get deliveries and then he'll pick the best pieces out for this restaurant, and then I go up there after he's done that and then I go through and I say, "Okay, I want all of these things. I will leave these five, but I want these." And so, everything is really hand picked. But the great thing about Pat is that he has such a great relationship with his farmers, all of his purveyors, that everything can be traced down to from the beginning of the lifetime of each steer, which that I have full faith in. So that's why it's amazing, and you can tell the difference in the quality of our product.

Kerry Diamond: So you leave it to Pat.

Angie Mar: I leave it to him, yeah.

Kerry Diamond: Okay. Before we start to talk about the book, because it's so important and I want to give enough time to it, we talked about how you raised money. Do you two have outside investors?

Angie Mar: Mm-mm (negative)

Kerry Diamond: It's all your own money. Wow.

Angie Mar: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: Okay.

Angie Mar: You know, my dad always said ... Look, he grew up during The Depression, and as I mentioned, he was one of ten kids. And basically the way it worked was my Auntie Ruby was in New York, and when their parents died she came back with her sisters to Seattle to take care of the younger siblings. And because of that, what they did was they would start businesses and then would employee family member and so on and so on. So, growing up this whole time, my dad would be like, "If you make money, you make it with the family. You start a business, you start it with your family." And it's all for the growth and the betterment of the family always.

Angie Mar: So for me, that's really important because my cousin Melissa and I, she grew up in Asia but got dropped off every summer at my house. We shared a room, we had bunk beds, so growing up with somebody and then you now have a business with that person, it's like there's nobody that understands me better than my cousin because she's seen it all. And the food that we cook, she understands because a lot of it we had versions of it growing up. But my brothers do my website, they designed out menus. It really is, soup to nuts this is a family business, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Kerry Diamond: So, one thing that surprises me, and I think I forget how much you've accomplished in such little time, because it does-

Angie Mar: It feels like forever though, but it is a short time.

Kerry Diamond: Well you know what it is? This restaurant feels like it's been here forever by you. It feels so fully fleshed out in so many ways.

Angie Mar: Thank you. Thank you.

Kerry Diamond: Meat pun, I guess, intended with that. But I'm surprised you don't have more projects already. Is that by choice, or is that because the industry's not bringing you the projects or not bringing you the funding?

Angie Mar: Well no, it's not really that. We get pitched all the time. For me, there's never really been a right time for the next project, or the partnership hasn't felt right, or it hasn't been the right time here. One of the things that I think that a lot of people do, like their big mistake, is that they expand to quickly. Because it's like, "Okay, we're hot now so we can expand." And it's just like, right, but this is my baby. This is my first restaurant, it is my baby, and if the foundations are not laid here properly and if my team internally is not at the point where I can take them, take my key people out of this restaurant and move them to a new restaurant to open another project while the more junior are ready to move up, then what's the point?

Angie Mar: Because the whole thing is that I could have opened another place a year after we opened. I could have opened another place after I got my Times review, but we weren't ready. I wasn't ready and this team wasn't ready, and if I had opened something with a team that wasn't ready it would have either been a failure, or even if it was successful I would have to hire from the outside. Meaning that I would have to build a whole new culture versus now where the foundations are in place here, and we have a really great culture here. If I take the people that are already ingrained in that culture and move them to another restaurant and we open that, then that culture is already going to be there. The ethos of what we represent will already be there. And that, I think is important, because whatever restaurants I do going forward, if you walk in and we have that culture and we have that ethos you're going to be like, "Oh yeah, this is an Angie Mar restaurant. I get it. It feels right." You know what I mean?

Angie Mar: That's what I think is so important, not just opening something to plant a flag somewhere, but opening something in the right way and because it's the right time, and because you're doing something that's right for the team that you have in place. Because there will be a time where it's like if I don't open something, where's my team going to go?

Kerry Diamond: Right.

Angie Mar: Right? But I haven't had the right team in place until really recently to go and be able to do that.

Kerry Diamond: Okay. Good answer. I just see these guys doing so many projects, and I'm like, "Ugh, Angie Mar should be reinventing the 21 Club. Angie Mar should be in charge of the Four Seasons."

Angie Mar: I would love to reinvent the 21 Club, and I would love to do the Four Seasons, so if you're listening, call me.

Kerry Diamond: 21 Club, get on it.

Kerry Diamond: Okay, let's talk about this beautiful book. I've got it right here, Butcher and Beast. Why that title?

Angie Mar: You know, there was never any other name for that book ever. My literary agent and I kind of kicked around a couple ideas, and we were just like, "Why not? Why would we name it anything else? This is what it is."

Kerry Diamond: It's a great title.

Angie Mar: Yeah, and it wasn't going be like The Beatrice Inn cookbook, you know what I mean? It had to be something a little bit different, and because there're so many memoir-like essays and all of that in there, it's reads like a story.

Kerry Diamond: And the word beast, what can we read into that?

Angie Mar: Oh, that's probably me. I don't know. It's probably me.

Kerry Diamond: The business is a beast. A lot of things. Yeah.

Angie Mar: The business is a beast. The restaurant's a beast. And also, I think if you want to be in this business you have to be in beast mode all the time. That's what it is. You get a lot of people in this business, especially I think the younger generation, and they're like haven't really spent a lot of time learning and putting in their time, and they're just like, "Okay, I want to go open a restaurant. I want to be an executive chef somewhere." It's like, "Okay, but what value do you bring to the table? What experience do you have to bring to the table. Do you understand a P and L? Do you understand labor cost? Do you understand food cost? Can you read your lease? Can you negotiate your rent? What are you going to do when the boiler goes out?" You know what I mean?

Kerry Diamond: That real estate experience comes in handy there.

Angie Mar: The real estate experience really helped, yeah. It's a business.

Kerry Diamond: So, who did you write this book for?

Angie Mar: For me, yeah. I guess I'm very selfish. I cook for me and I wrote that book very much for me, and that book was very much a battle to get it to where it is now, as you know. It was supposed to be something very different. Like very, very different.

Kerry Diamond: Right, I read in the intro. We have the same publisher, Clarkson Potter. Hi Clarkson Potter gang if you're listening. You said that they wanted you to do basically Beatrice Inn food for the home cook, and you were like-

Angie Mar: Yeah, to dumb down my recipes. (Bleep) Yeah, why would I? Why would I? I don't dumb it down when people come to eat, why would I dumb it down in a book? It's like everybody wants to do what's easy, right? Everybody wants to do what's easy, but the thing is is that anything worth doing is not easy. That's the reality of it, and the sooner that more of us can wrap our minds around that ... And everybody is always saying that I've accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time, which it feels like forever, but I guess it's not. I guess it is kind of a short amount of time.

Angie Mar: I've been in New York for nine years in December. The reality is is because I've never done anything the easy way. I think when we do things the easy way, that's like the long road, right? I'd rather do something the hard way and get it done right and get the experience done, but that's a lot of the mentality behind those recipes and why I refused to dumb them down. Is because people should learn. I hope people learn out of that book, even if it's only for the stories.

Kerry Diamond: So, it is one of the more individual cookbooks out there, at a time when so many cookbooks look the same. I mean we have to be honest, half the cookbooks out there look the same.

Angie Mar: Yes, that's very true.

Kerry Diamond: How did you wind up with such an original looking cookbook?

Angie Mar: Well, I wish that I could take credit for the Polaroid aspect of it, but I'm not that genius, it's Johnny Miller.

Kerry Diamond: So, it's filled with Polaroid photos.

Angie Mar: The entire book is shot on Polaroid.

Kerry Diamond: Of very glamorous people and Angie Mar food.

Angie Mar: Yes, and there's the debauchery that goes on around one of our tables. First of all, I just have to take the time to thank you. So, for those of you that have not heard this story yet, Kerry actually introduced me to Johnny Miller.

Kerry Diamond: Your photographer.

Angie Mar: Yeah, my photographer for Butcher and Beast. Did you do that intentionally? Did you pull him in intentionally?

Kerry Diamond: No. So InStyle hired him to shoot the story we did with you and Natasha Lyonne, and I was shocked to learn you didn't have a photographer yet for your cookbook. And Johnny had just done Athena Calderone's, which is such a beautiful cookbook.

Angie Mar: It's so beautiful.

Kerry Diamond: And I think he and I had been on maybe two shoots at that point, and I just thought he was so chill and low-key, and it really came out of my mouth before I could even think, like a lot of things that come out of my mouth. Jess is nodding, our producer. And as soon as it came out of my mouth, I was like, "Oh, that was like a really bossy, not my business thing to insert myself into."

Angie Mar: It was the greatest thing you could have ever done for me, Kerry.

Kerry Diamond: And it worked out for you. But no, as soon as it came out of my mouth I was like, "Oh, F, I just put them both in a really weird position, because what if Angie has no interest and he has no interest?"

Angie Mar: No, we got along so well.

Kerry Diamond: Okay, good. I was worried I created a very awkward moment there.

Angie Mar: No, no, no, no, you didn't. I mean, clearly you did not. You created a very beautiful book, Kerry, so thank you. But no, you know, Johnny's so smart and so creative and so brilliant, and this is a really big departure from his other work.

Angie Mar: After you introduced us, we had a bunch of dates. We had some phone dates, and he came into eat, and then we got to know each other because we were like okay, if we're going to work together we have to really get on, right?

Kerry Diamond: He's low-key.

Angie Mar: He is low-key. I'm not low-key? Really? Are you really honest? I do think I am in my own way.

Kerry Diamond: Okay, okay. We have like 10 more minutes you can convince me how low-key you are.

Angie Mar: I know.

Kerry Diamond: I'm sitting across from you, you've got the world's longest eyelashes. You've got these insane eyelashes I've never seen before in my life. Like I said, you came dressed like a rock star. You're such a force.

Angie Mar: Well I was seeing you, so I had to get dressed up for you.

Kerry Diamond: And I wore jeans and a striped sweater. No, I guess it's just the definition of low-key. I understand why you think you're low-key, but I think to the rest of us you are such a force.

Angie Mar: Oh, well thank you.

Kerry Diamond: You are glamorous, you are talented, that's why I'm shocked you don't have 10 other restaurants.

Angie Mar: Oh, no thank you. It means a lot to me that you say that.

Kerry Diamond: And you know I love your food.

Angie Mar: Yes. I know, you always sneak in here on the low, and then tell me when you're leaving.

Kerry Diamond: Well, you know what it is? You don't want to come in and be like ... You're busy. You're working.

Angie Mar: No, I know, but for me it's like ... Because that's what I do. I never tell anybody that I'm going to go dine, and I sneak in. And for me, when we first were getting to know each other I was like, "God, Kerry came in again. She didn't even tell me until after she paid the bill. It's so rude. I just want to take care of her." But you know, I mean honestly now that I know you, it's the classiest thing that you can do. Like truly. So thank you, I appreciate it.

Kerry Diamond: No, I have a great time every time I come here.

Angie Mar: Good.

Kerry Diamond: I need to come here with more people though, because I do want to try everything on the menu, and it's meat.

Angie Mar: Yeah, exactly.

Kerry Diamond: My favorite thing though that you make is that plum tart.

Angie Mar: Oh my God.

Kerry Diamond: I mean, that blows my mind.

Angie Mar: You and Ruth.

Kerry Diamond: Does Ruth Reichl love it also?

Angie Mar: Ruth loves it. yeah, she loves it.

Kerry Diamond: Can you describe it for everybody?

Angie Mar: It's a savory plum tart, and the crust is made with 100% beef suet. There's no butter in it, which is why I love it. The tart is hot, then it's got this arugula salad with it with Parmesan that's cold and crisp. It's not sweet, it's like savory, and that's what I love about it.

Kerry Diamond: What do you do with the plums to make them?

Angie Mar: It's a little bit of cinnamon, lots of pepper, a little bit of salt.

Kerry Diamond: Because they take on this almost like vegetal meaty thing. It's almost indescribable.

Angie Mar: I think that's the beef fat in the crust, and yeah, it's one of my favorite dishes as well.

Kerry Diamond: It's so good. It's so good.

Angie Mar: Thank you.

Kerry Diamond: And I love your signature dessert.

Angie Mar: The crème brûlée.

Kerry Diamond: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Angie Mar: Yeah, it's good.

Kerry Diamond: It comes in a bone.

Angie Mar: It comes in a bone. Yeah, you've got to have it.

Kerry Diamond: It's like a Pebble Flinstone's dessert there.

Angie Mar: I know, right?

Kerry Diamond: How'd you come up with that idea?

Angie Mar: You know, that was just kind of one of those things where it was like we have to have a dessert that's centered around beef, and if you make bone marrow flan, it's like crème brûlée can't be that far off.

Kerry Diamond: Really my favorite part of the book is your essay about your philosophy, and we are actually excerpting it in the magazine. Thank you for letting us do that, because I honestly think it's epic. It's one of the best things I've ever read about the industry. I think it deserves to be one of those famous essays that gets passed down to young folk and aspiring folk for this industry.

Angie Mar: Thank you.

Kerry Diamond: You know, when they do all that best food writing, I would love to see it published. I want you to talk about it, but a few of the lines like, "Once upon a time all you had to do was cook good food." And I think that maybe it would be depressing to a lot of aspiring chefs out there that it's not just about cooking good food.

Angie Mar: Yeah, it's not. It's not. I mean, it's not. And that's the thing, is that in order to really be successful now, because we live in this industry, we live in this culture. Not just our industry, but we live in the times that we're in, is it's just like we have to be able to do everything, right? I am 100% anti-social by nature. I'm very-

Kerry Diamond: I think a lot of chefs are. That's what draws them to the kitchen.

Angie Mar: Yeah. Oh, I'm totally socially awkward and anti-social and whatever, and I just want to be in the kitchen all the time. I've learned over many years that I can't do that. I'm literally working the room every single night. You've got to shake hands, you've got to kiss babies, you've got to be able to sit here and do podcasts with you and go on TV, and you've got to be able to do all of these things. You have to really embody your brand, and it's really interesting because I've realized that everything that I do, every single thing that I do, it's all to further the brand.

Angie Mar: You said something to me about the way I'm dressed. Well yeah, I'm not rolling out my house in sweats right now because I-

Kerry Diamond: Do you ever?

Angie Mar: I do, like on a Sunday when I don't leave the Upper West Side. But even then, it's like I have two modes. It's like the vintage Armani, or it's the sweatsuit, but then it's like all the diamonds with the sweatsuit so I can be like Biggie Smalls, right? That's what it is.

Angie Mar: But everything that we do, it's all for the brand and it's all for what we build, and to further our brand. And that's why it's not just about the food. It isn't. And so many people think that it's about the food, but it's like where's your money coming from? Where's your money coming from? And you know this about me, and I think that you're the same way. It's that also, are you a good person? Just don't be a dick, because we don't support those people.

Angie Mar: That's the other thing too, is that a lot of kids grow up in this industry and they think that it's this whole rock and roll lifestyle, and it is but it's not. It is in the fact that it's like last week I didn't sleep from Wednesday until Sunday, and I was on a plane.

Kerry Diamond: Because the book came out.

Angie Mar: And I went to Florida for 13 hours, and all these other things, but that doesn't mean that I was out partying. I was working, and not a lot of people understand that.

Kerry Diamond: One of the next things from the essay, "You also have to hustle hard, but you have to play the game. People often conflate these, but they're not the same."

Angie Mar: Yeah, 100%. There's hustle, which is the working 24/7 and what I'm talking about in that everything that we do is in service of the brand and all of those things. There's also, yeah, you've got to play the game aspect of it. And it's like I've spent the last nine years since I got here, I've practically no friends that are chefs, and if I do have friends that are chefs I've probably recently just met them.

Angie Mar: But I didn't come up in this industry going out and having like a beer, going out and kicking it with my fellow cooks, and that's who I came up in the industry with. I grew up in this industry working my ass off and cultivating relationships with people like you or people like Erik Asla. Whatever, just people that press and also regulars, and that's something that I think is really important is that you have to play that, you've got to play that game because I only do business with people that I like. I don't do business with certain purveyors because I don't like them. I won't do interviews with certain people in press because I feel that they've wronged me before so I won't even play with them anymore, and that's fine. That's a choice that I've made.

Angie Mar: I do business with people that I like. Whether it's sitting down to do a podcast with your or doing an interview with somebody else, or even having somebody in to dine with us, just a regular. Where you an (beep) to my servers last time you came in? Because I'm probably not going to give you a nice table next time, or even take your money at all, because I don't need it. And that's the deal, is that it's cultivating those relationships, it's so important, right? It's so important. There's a reason I'm the first delivery off of the LaFrieda truck at 5 in the morning, because I've spent years cultivating those relationships. And the same thing with the fish purveyors and all of that.

Angie Mar: It's a very different world. It's a very different world than I think a lot of people who are getting into this industry have this romanticized version of it, and the realities are very different. One of the reasons why I wrote what I wrote in the introduction to that book is because I don't think it's talked about enough. I mean, I think everybody knows that and I think everybody's scared to say it. And for me, it was like if we're going to write a book, we're going to say all the things that everybody knows and is just too scared to say, because I've never been scared to say any of those things so we might as well just put it in a book. Like why not?

Kerry Diamond: Well, I'm glad you did. Also, speaking of the book, we need to give a shout-out to your co-author.

Angie Mar: Yes, Jamie Feldmar.

Kerry Diamond: Jamie Feldmar. How'd you two hook up?

Angie Mar: You know, she did this amazing profile in Village Voice and I really loved her. I wanted her for the book to begin with, and then I think she was busy. And then she had one project fall through and it was last minute. We were behind schedule and all these things, and the stars just aligned and it worked out really well.

Kerry Diamond: Well, good. Well I'm happy you had a dream team for your project.

Angie Mar: Yeah, I definitely did.

Kerry Diamond: All right Angie Mar, you're a busy lady so let's do the speed round.

Angie Mar: All right, let's do it.

Kerry Diamond: All right, oldest thing in your fridge?

Angie Mar: Champagne.

Kerry Diamond: Song that makes you smile?

Angie Mar: Return of the Mac.

Kerry Diamond: A favorite kitchen implement?

Angie Mar: A combi oven.

Kerry Diamond: A combi oven?

Angie Mar: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: Okay.

Angie Mar: Love it.

Kerry Diamond: Okay. In your professional kitchen?

Angie Mar: Yeah, in my professional kitchen.

Kerry Diamond: How about at home?

Angie Mar: Probably a can opener. I'm not really home that often.

Kerry Diamond: A can opener. Dream vacation destination?

Angie Mar: Ooh, Paris is one of my favorite places on earth.

Kerry Diamond: One of your most treasured cookbooks?

Angie Mar: Oh, The Joy of Cooking, and I've got like a first edition from my father.

Kerry Diamond: Wow.

Angie Mar: Yeah, love it. It's like torn and tattered and stained, and it's just one of my favorite things.

Kerry Diamond: Food you would never eat?

Angie Mar: Cardoons, beets, cooked fish unless it's done Chinese-style or fried, then I can eat it.

Kerry Diamond: Cardoons, beets, and cooked fish. That is a very specific list.

Angie Mar: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: Okay.

Angie Mar: You know, it's really funny, Thomas Keller and Corey Chow are the only ones that really know that, so every time I go eat they'll never give me cooked fish unless it's fried. They just give me raw fish or fried fish, and I always want to cry every time I'm there because it's so thoughtful.

Kerry Diamond: I thought you were going to say they mess with you and they serve you cooked fish with cardoons and beets.

Angie Mar: No, no, no, no, no.

Kerry Diamond: It's like, that's gross.

Angie Mar: I know, right? That would be funny though.

Kerry Diamond: All right, if you had to be trapped on a desert island with one food celebrity, who would it be and why?

Angie Mar: I feel like it would be Marco Pierre White. Yeah, I feel like we'd get along. I just feel like we'd get along.

Kerry Diamond: He just got in a little hot water because he said something stupid.

Angie Mar: Did he?

Kerry Diamond: Shocker. About women being too emotional to work in the kitchen, and they can't lift heavy things.

Angie Mar: Oh really? Maybe I don't want to be on an island with him.

Kerry Diamond: Or you could be on the island with him and set him straight.

Angie Mar: And just set him straight and be like, "Let me just tell you something."

Kerry Diamond: As you save his ass on that desert island. Maybe that wouldn't be the worst pairing.

Angie Mar: No, it wouldn't. I would be hunting. I'd be like, "I'll hunt, you cook. There you go."

Kerry Diamond: That's it for today's show. Thank you to Angie Mar and her team at the Beatrice Inn. Angie's very first cookbook Butcher and Beast is out now, and you need to check it out.

Kerry Diamond: Thank you to Le Cordon Bleu culinary schools, and Emmi Cheese from Switzerland for supporting our show. It means a lot to us. Our show is produced, engineered and edited by Jess Zeidman. Thank you to the Cherry Bombe team Lauren Goldstein, Audrey Payne, Kia Damon, Maria Sanchez, Donna Yen, and our publisher Kate Miller Spencer. Our theme song is All Fired Up by the band Tralala. Thanks for listening everybody. You're the bombe.

When Harry Met Sally Clip: I'll have what she's having.

Amanda Saab: Hi. My name is Amanda Saab. I am the founder and baker at Butter Bear Shop, a bakery in Livonia, Michigan. I think Devita Davidson of Food Lab Detroit is the bombe because she's created a network of like-minded entrepreneurs who sat out to have triple bottom lined businesses, which means we focus on planet, people, and profitability. Thank you, Devita.