Chef's Table - Married to it

I've often wondered how the spouses of successful chefs keep their marriage together. Valerie Crawford, a part-time manager at South City Kitchen and wife of Scott Crawford, chef/partner of Food 101 and three Meehan's Ale Houses, explains "the crazy life that works for us."

Creative Loafing: How'd you two meet?

Crawford: We both worked at the Waverly Hotel in 1995. I was working for [parent company] Stouffer as the restaurant manager and Scott was the executive sous chef. He told me he was gonna marry me within two weeks of meeting me. We got engaged in May of 1996 and married in December 1996.

Two months after we married, we picked up and moved to San Francisco and opened a restaurant. I was front of house, he was chef. We lived in a loft above the restaurant for 14 months.

How was that?

Good, but we haven't worked together since! I find chefs like to blame the front of house for everything. Scott blamed me when something went wrong with the copy machine! So it was a little challenging. We literally never got out of the building. We walked up one flight of steps and we were home.

So, what are the positives about being married to a cook?

When I went into this, I never had to cook. He handles all the food when we have dinner parties. It's also a definite positive for me being in the business. I understand working the crazy hours. It's what we do.

And the negatives?

For a long time, I think our neighbors thought we were drug dealers, because we were never home on weekends - but on Wednesday afternoons - in this big suburban house. Especially now that I am home more, Scott's hours are tough. The kids are all over him when he is home. It's all about him.

Did Scott make baby food?

They've never had a jar of Gerber's. Scott made all of it and it was all organic and actually pretty easy. Now he cooks a little bit for the kids. He'll kill me for this: He makes mac and cheese from a box for them. We joke about that.


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