Barbette's Kim Bartmann: Chef chat, part 1

Categories: Interview

Barbette window.jpg
Barbette, one of the Bartmann sisters' many restaurants
Kim Bartmann is a busy woman as co-founder and manager of Barbette, Bryant-Lake Bowl, and Red Stag. And she's not showing any signs of slowing down. Bartmann's upcoming plans include opening a gastropub called Pat's Tap at 3510 Nicollet Avenue and a spot called Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet concessions in April. The Hot Dish caught up with Bartmann this week to find out how she juggles it all and how she unwinds from work at the restaurants.

Where are you in the planning stage for Bread & Pickle? What are you working on right now?
Architectural plans are close to being done. The work will happen over the winter, with the anticipated opening to be April 1, 2011.

Tell me a little about the picnic supplies you're planning to sell at Bread & Pickle?
Picnics will be a version of the cold sandwiches and salads menu. A "European" option of cheeses, breads, and charcuterie will also be available.

What qualities do you require in kitchen staff? Front-of-house staff?
People who work in kitchens need to know how to cook eggs. They need to be able to deliver consistency, and they should love what they do. Front-of-house staff should be welcoming above all, be quick on their feet, and know their products.

What is your favorite dish to cook at home?
At home I like to bake banana bread and cook very simply. I eat a lot of raw salads at home, and I use the mandoline a lot.

What is the hardest lesson you've learned as a restaurant owner?
My hardest lesson has definitely been to pay attention to the numbers. I'm not a money-driven person; I'm intuitive and creative. I had to force myself to learn. Now I spend a lot of time helping other people to learn. I have over a dozen former employees that own their own businesses now. I hope I helped inspire that a little bit.

What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working?
When I'm not working, I'm eating, I am walking my dogs, doing stuff in the yard, reading, hanging out with friends, or hanging out in one of my places. I love to travel. I love to cook. Right now I am in love with the book How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton.

Our chat with Kim Bartmann continues tomorrow.

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