Executive Chef Andrea Luz Bergquist's Journal

Now that long-anticipated Red Rooster Harlem is open, you might be curious to know about what it's like behind-the-scenes.  Our incredibly talented executive Chef, Andrea Luz Bergquist, will be sharing her journal about life in the restaurant every Tuesday.

Andrea's Journal

I'm Andrea Luz Bergquist, executive chef at Red Rooster.  I work with Marcus to develop the menu as well as manage and guide our staff.

It's been only a little over two weeks since we opened Rooster's doors to the public, but it's taken months of planning, preparing and hiring to get us where we are today.

Needless to say, the work definitely isn't over...we've just wrapped up one phase, and are beginning a whole new one. Every day, things are changing.

We've already let some staff go. High turnover is typical for restaurants, especially new ones. We've lost some folks who were super talented but couldn't keep up with our pace, while others simply didn't meet up to our expectations for the team.

But with the cuts, we've also got some much-needed additions: pros that will help us guide the young staff.

We still need more help in the kitchen so I'm constantly holding open calls for cooks.  I'm holding one I'm doing today.

Working in a new space with an entirely new group of people is challenging, but it's also the part of the job that makes this whole opportunity so exciting.

The whole process of building a menu is trial and error. We're always improving dishes, adding new items or removing them altogether. It's rough when customers aren't into a dish you expected to be a hit but it's a part of the progression and growth.

We just introduced an oxtail dish, influenced by Harlem's large Caribbean community. It's slow cooked in Mother's Milk stout from Keegan Ales, a local brewery located in the Hudson Valley.

We've gotten a great response about this dish so far, which feels great.

The holidays proved to be busy and as much as I enjoyed it all, I look forward to a quiet post-holiday season when we can all sort of find our pace. It'll also be an opportunity for the service staff to really get acquainted with the kitchen team.

Our next big goal is to open up for lunch this month. We're working full steam ahead to get our menu just right and prepare the staff. Wish us luck!