Reality TV Chef Opens Up About Running a Restaurant
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Have you always wanted to know what running a restaurant is like? WE tv is giving you all the behind-the-scenes look at the highs and lows of doing so, with its new culinary docu-series Hustle & Soul.

The six-episode series–which premiered earlier this month and airs every Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/PT–follows Chef Lawrence Page, head chef and owner of The Pink Tea Cup, a soul food restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. Although the series leans more toward stirring up drama than spilling recipes for success, there are still plenty of business lessons one can ytake away from the program, if running a restaurant has been one of your entrepreneurial dreams.

“I never thought soul food would get me here,” Page told the crowd at The Cutting Room in New York City, during a screening of the series last week. “I’ve made millions, lost millions, and been homeless. […] I lost my life savings behind The Pink Tea Cup, trying to become a chef. I didn’t realize how tough it was. I wasn’t educated about certain ingredients or techniques. I didn’t understand any of that. I didn’t even watch the Food Network.”

“But I didn’t give up on it,” he continued. “I got through it. I got my weight back up. I got my money back up. The food is impeccable. I have a great staff. So, I think we’re winning.”

 

Cast members Candice Roach, Sana Akibu, Dominic D’Angelica, Stefan D’Angelica, Lawrence Page, Ana Lavender and Thandi Stewart attend WEtv’s Hustle & Soul Premiere Party at The Cutting Room on March 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for WE tv)

 

One of his biggest challenges as an owner came after 10 years, when he had to fire his chef in the middle of service, with a packed house–including Denzel Washington–at the restaurant.

Page made it through with some sage advice from his mom: “You can’t buy soul at the store. It’s in you. Figure it out.”

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Alisa Gumbs

Alisa Gumbs is the executive managing editor of BLACK ENTERPRISE, planning and executing content across the company's print, digital, events, and broadcast platforms, and writing features when she finds a story she's passionate about--including the November 2011, December 2010, and September 2006 cover stories.


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