Friday, May 22, 2015

Chef Chat: For Gooseberries' Kim Bond and Ross Lessor, Business Is Personal

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Ross Lessor and Kim Bond of Gooseberries | Mabel Suen
  • Ross Lessor and Kim Bond of Gooseberries | Mabel Suen

"Yeah, we get into arguments every now and then,"Gooseberries (2754 Chippewa Street; 314-577-6363) co-owner Kim Bond laughs. "We're pretty good at dropping it after a certain point though."

No, Bond is not offering relationship advice -- unless your relationship involves working long hours in a restaurant with your significant other. As co-owners of the eclectic Dutchtown South cafe, Bond and her partner of eighteen years Ross Lessor blur the line between their personal and professional lives, though Bond insists it's not as hard as you'd think.

See Also: Review: Gooseberries Pleases Herbivores and Omnivores Alike

"We met [working] in a kitchen," Bond explains. "We already knew how the other person works, so we were lucky like that. I mean, we've been together for eighteen years now."

The pair were inspired to strike out on their own at the insistence of their friends. "We always have a lot of parties at our house," Bond says. "We'd always put out a huge spread -- we just really enjoy cooking for others. People were always saying we should open our own place." Seeing a niche for a restaurant that caters to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, Bond and Lessor opened Gooseberries last October.

She does have a piece of advice for those who consider working with their partners. "We like to joke around. Keep things light. It makes it so much easier."

Bond and Lessor took a break from making their signature "KFT," or krispy fried tofu, to share their thoughts on the St. Louis dining scene, their guilty pleasures and playing Frisbee in Gooseberries' dining room.

What is one thing people don't know about you that you wish they did? This is a tough one. Both of us can't really think of anything specific we want people to know that they don't already. Maybe that we like to laugh as much as possible. That's something you might not know unless you know us.

What daily ritual is non-negotiable for you? It is ginger iced coffee in the morning and then Gooseberries flyers after we close. It's kind of like Frisbee in the dining room.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Kim Bond: I would like to have super extendo arms and legs because I'm always just a little bit too short to reach things on the shelves. Ross Lessor: To be able to make fifteen minutes of sleep equal eight hours.

What is the most positive trend in food, wine or cocktails that you've noticed in St. Louis over the past year? More and more smaller, truly independent places opening.

Who is your St. Louis food crush? Kim Bond: Mine is obviously Ross.

Who's the one person to watch right now in the St. Louis dining scene? We think that all of the St. Louis dining scene is what to watch. It's an exciting time in the St. Louis entertainment scene all around.

Which ingredient is most representative of your personality? Kim: Kale. Ross: Garlic.

If someone asked you to describe the current state of St. Louis' culinary climate, what would you say? Kim: Diverse and growing. Ross: Edible.

What is your after work hangout? Whiskey Ring. We deliver handpies in the evenings to them. It's our excuse to get out, see our friends and relax for a bit.

What's your food or beverage guilty pleasure? Kim: French fries. Ross: White Castle.

What would be your last meal on earth? Kim: KFT. Ross: [Gooseberries'] "Bacon Leg."

Follow Cheryl Baehr on Twitter at @CherylABaehr. E-mail the author at Cheryl.Baehr@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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