The Scoop: Interview with Chef Lou and Tara

by Chef Lou Smith
The Scoop: Interview with Chef Lou and Tara

Interview with Tara & Lou Smith owners of Blend on Main.

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The Scoop:  Well,  I guess you have had some big things come your way since we last spoke?

Chef Lou:  Yes It has definitely been a fun run so far.  We are now in year 6. 

Tara:  Fun might not be the best word.  It is definitely a lot of work.  Especially keeping up with this guy.

Chef Lou: lol, yes work it definitely is.

The Scoop: Gordon Ramsey was by this October?  How? What? & Why?

Chef Lou: lol,  that is a lot so I will start from the beginning.

Tara:  I am still interested in hearing the why!?

Chef Lou: Producers of a network “show” reached out to me in late August, asking if I wanted to be part of a renovation show.  Where you get a nice chunk of change to refresh the space.  I thought to myself, we needed a refresh.  Things get stale you know?  So…I took the first meeting.  It seemed legit.  I am a hard sell, trust me.  Virginia, we will call her to protect her real name…was the lead on the show and she is a great gal.  So after a few conversations I said “I’m in.” 

The whole Smith Family sitting down post renovation.

The Scoop:  Then what?

Chef Lou: They came and filmed us for two days.  This was the tryout for the show I guess.

Tara: He just told me, two days before they showed up to film!  I definitely was surprised, with a few more emotions mixed in.

Chef Lou: Yeah.  she was not my biggest fan that day.

The Scoop:  Then what happened from that point?

Chef Lou: Well, they came, they filmed,  they left.  They said…you will hear from us.  And a week later I get a phone call and they said then..”We are coming back on Tuesday”..uh…ok. 

So they wired my place on a Tuesday for Wednesday filming.  We took the “mandatory” day off Tuesday and they did their thing. 

Tara:  Then that Nor Easter happened..So we closed that Wednesday as well!

Chef Lou: So now it’s Thursday and they allow me to come back to prep for a dinner service at 1 pm!  I am like what!? No way!!  I need to prepare.  We have not been here since Monday.

Tara:  That was the deal.  You signed up for it.  They had total control. They wouldn’t let him in until 1.  He is usually there at 7-8 in the morning latest.

Chef Lou: She’s right.  Like always.  Listen to your wives guys. 

The Scoop:  So when did you realize the big guy Gordon Ramsey was here.

Chef Lou: I will let you watch and see the episode.  It is pretty funny.  They had me totally blind sided.

Tara:  Me Too! 

We start them young in the Smith family! Go #TeamLou

The Scoop:  He typically finds or deals with restaurants that are in bad shape.  You have such a good reputation. Why invite yourselves to so much vulnerability?

Tara:  Yeah Why? 

Chef Lou:  I knew anyone could only use what they find.  I mean.  I was and am pretty confident in my staff, the food and my place to look good to any of the people that they would bring and judge us with.  Little did I know it was the big bad wolf!  Gordon Fricken Ramsey.  I was looking for the publicity to help get things moving and generate business.  They say..any publicity is good publicity.  Right?

Tara:  Well getting noticed, certainly worked. 

The Scoop:  Is the restaurant business tough?

Tara:  {laughs)  what he does before 2 pm would tire out the average person. 

Chef Lou: you work hard yourself kiddo.  We work together.  That was a big dynamic in the show.  It is hard.   Twice as hard for her because she has to work with me!

Tara:  I agree.  (smiles)

The Scoop: But you seem to be busy all the time.

Chef Lou: Everyone has this perception it is cupcakes and lemonade and it is far from that.  We are always two weeks from making tough decisions. 

The Scoop:  What does that mean?  Two weeks away from tough decisions.

Chef Lou: We employ 43 people off season.  When the numbers are not there it is tough to manage all the lives and ensure everyone is ok for hours and shifts to help them provide for their families.  With very soft nights in the winter, It gets scary sometimes. 

Tara:  Yes.  We watch the weather allot.  If you ever need to know the weekly forecast, we have it memorized.  Our restaurant is very dependent on weather, like so many other businesses. 

The Scoop:  That is a lot of pressure.

Tara:  It certainly is.  We don’t take it lightly and it definitely tough.

Chef Lou: I wouldn’t change a thing though.  I love my life.  My work.  It isn’t work if you love it.  It just becomes part of your life.  Granted sometimes too much, but would not do anything else.

Tara:  Ahhhh, some of the lessons from the big guy!

Chef Lou: Yes.  I do need to step back once in a while and breath. 

The Scoop:  What can you tell us about the big guy? 

Tara:  He was so nice to me.  I didn’t like some of the angles they were taking.  I guess they needed drama for the show though.  We shall see on the final edit.

Chef Lou: He is a great chef.  We didn’t get to play tennis or anything, but he did great things for our family at the restaurant and at home.  He actually told me “ you are a great chef”  That is all I needed.  Hopefully that airs.  I would do it again though.    

Tara:  Not me.  Too stressful! (laughs)

The Scoop:  Well it was so great catching up.  What else is on the horizon?

Chef Lou: We will continue to strive to be one of the best eateries around and continue to build on that.  I appreciate everyone who reached out and had positive reinforcement.  Not a well wish went unappreciated.  We just released a new website and have a few new services we offer.  Check it out at blendonmain.com #TeamLou!  Now…I got to get back in the kitchen. Talk soon.

Tara:  Have a happy new year!

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