Brooke Foster moved to New Orleans on a whim in 2010. Following culinary school in Atlanta, Foster had difficulty finding the right opportunity to really start her career. "I decided to quit my job and pack up as much as I could fit into my car and move to New Orleans."
Foster landed at Commander's Palace as the garde manager and stayed through 2013, before joining Gris-Gris. She says that she began working at the Magazine Street restaurant the moment that the idea was first shared with her. "I was given a green folder and told to walk down the street to a local coffee shop and take a little time to review the contents. The folder contained the initial business plan," she shared with Adore. "As soon as I knew this was happening and I was asked to be a part of it I was in, 100%. I was the one person outside of ownership that was here from day one, when we had nothing but a folding table and two laptops."
Gris-Gris now serves lunch, dinner, and brunch, which Foster brought to fruition. She primarily works daytime hours, as she believes that the morning sets the tone for the day. "If we get off to a strong, productive start, momentum typically continues to build and we can finish strong by days end. I often like to relieve the pressure of the other chefs coming in so they can focus on expediting service without worry." When she isn't at work, you can find her spending time with her family both in New Orleans and Georgia, where she is originally from. "Spending time with my nephew Hendrix is my number one priority when I am not working. He is my best little buddy and he knows my job is kind of crazy but he always knows I will be around when I can."
Below, see how Foster begins her day!
7 a.m. Wake up. I’m not the biggest morning person, so my morning routine is pretty brief. I spend a few minutes getting my brain to wake up, wash up, put on my uniform, and head out.
7:30 a.m. The most important part of my drive to work is picking the music. I usually have an idea before I even get in the car of what I am going to listen to! More times than not, Taylor Swift is the artist of choice.
7:45 a.m. I arrive to work and enjoy the few minutes I have alone before my crew rolls in. I typically spend this time walking around the restaurant, turning equipment and lights on. Side note: I love when the building is still empty, I can always hear strange noises that we believe to be our ghost friends.
8:00 a.m. The crew arrives. I make my cup of Community Hazelnut Coffee and begin the day. I spend a few minutes filling in the team on anything they need to immediately know or be aware of. We chat about our plans for the day and everyone begins getting the kitchen set.
8:30 a.m. I spend the next bit of time organizing. I write everything down, all the time. If it doesn’t get written down, it likely won’t be remembered. I write out all prep lists for the day (and sometimes start one for the next day) and I am always at least two days out on production schedules. Our kitchen is very small and is a pretty unique set up—totally open for guests to watch us cook. This makes us stay hyper-organized and very strategic when planning. I spend about an hour most days going over the lists, double checking orders, reviewing notes from the night before, etc. all before beginning meal prep.
Once I know my plan of action for the day, I begin on my first large project. I always start with the things will take the longest or have high priority. Again, being so small we have to manage our time very wisely.
Every Friday morning, I get together prep lists for brunch—my favorite meal at Gris-Gris! My main focus here is preparing our creamed spinach and Griffin gravy. The gravy is a recipe I picked up from my grandmother in Georgia. It's always been a winner and I take the time to personally prepare it for each and every brunch shift. I also spend time making our biscuits fresh each morning. Breakfast foods have always been my favorite things to prepare so brunch is definitely the more exciting part of my week.
10 a.m. At this point the dish crew is showing up. We greet each other, chat for a bit, and go over any extra housekeeping projects that we may want to accomplish and then they go on their way. I also spend this time catching up with the front of house manager to go over anything that may have occurred the night before or to review upcoming events.
10:30 a.m. In the final half hour before we open, I make my final rounds through the line. I straighten up the last few things in order to appear clean, organized, and ready for service. At this point, I go over projects for the day with the cooks, and delegate them accordingly. Being that we are a very open kitchen I like to double check everything on the first floor. Our dining area is an extension of the kitchen and vice versa so I like to ensure that everything is ready for our guests to come in at 11 a.m.
Gris-Gris is located at 1800 Magazine Street.