Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune Reveals What's Harder -- Writing a Book or Running a Restaurant

Gabrielle-Hamilton photo.jpg
Melissa Hamilton
Gabrielle Hamilton celebrates with rosé champagne (and maybe tomatoes).

Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune restaurant is riding high on the hog this year, having written a wildly successful memoir Blood, Bones & Butter, released in March, and being named Best Chef: New York City this year at the James Beard Awards on Monday night. We called her up to learn more about how she celebrated her big win and how gender affects kitchen duties.

First off, congratulations on winning the James Beard Award for Best Chef: New York. How does it feel having won?

Well, it doesn't suck. It feels nice. It's complicated, but it feels nice.

How did you celebrate afterward?

We had a private-ish dinner at the restaurant and transformed the prep kitchen into the dining room and we had a big bowl of bollito misto with my dear chef friends and my staff.

And the celebratory drink of choice?

Guy Larmandier rosé champagne and Peyrassol rosé wine.

It's been quite a banner year for you, with your memoir hitting the bestseller list and now winning the Beard. How is life different at all?

I'm actually looking forward to resuming life. I've been on a book tour for what was supposed to be a month to what will actually be a solid two and a half months. It's a very long time away from the restaurant. Not that I worry about the restaurant because my staff is good, but I miss my personal grounding routines. I look forward to cleaning and prepping. It's nice to stand at a cutting board and chop parsley. I don't think life will change that much. I own the restaurant so I can't abandon the place.

What's harder -- writing a book or running a kitchen?

They are both very difficult. In the end I think it's harder to write a good book. What you're trying to conquer and complete is elusive and intangible. The tasks of running a restaurant are accomplishable. Nothing's impossible. If you are thorough and have drive and give a crap, you can do it. But nailing something on the page -- sometimes you just can't.

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