Name: Mason Hereford

Neighborhood: Central City

Profession: Chef & Owner, Turkey and the Wolf & Molly’s Rise and Shine

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Mason Hereford

Why in New Orleans? Sometimes I’ll stop at a corner store for a cold drink, some beef jerky or a beer, and I’ll find myself talking to a complete stranger for 15 minutes. I leave feeling really happy.

Something about New Orleans that can always put you in a good mood: Fried chicken and bird sauce from McHardy’s, cracklin from Danny and Bonnie Seafood, short ribs from Addis, and margs at Barrel Proof with my wife Lauren and my dog Darla. Sometimes you just gotta deep fry your worries and wash 'em down with a mezcal marg.

How has the pandemic affected your industry? What really keeps people coming back to restaurants is the way they feel. It’s interacting with a restaurant's soul—the servers, bartenders, and cooks—who genuinely enjoy making the people feel good. A restaurant cannot exist the same way in a virtual setting. Social distancing, while saving lives, changes everything.

How do you see your industry evolving in response to the pandemic? To survive, the hospitality industry needs a thorough reimagining. I think we were a bit overdue for a reckoning anyway. As we reimagine our future, it’s clear that we have to start with plans to actually take care of hospitality workers that hold the industry together and make it so special.

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Mason Hereford

Favorite restaurant: Tan Dinh

Favorite clothing store: Sneaker Politics

Favorite place to score things for your home: Junk’s Above

A book are you reading now: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Favorite album of all time: Guy Clark, Old No. 1

Song that can always put you in a great mood: US Blues by The Grateful Dead

Organization you’ve supported during the pandemic: Cattail Cooks and Southern Solidarity

Interviews have been edited and condensed.

This article appeared in the September 2020 Issue of Adore Magazine.