So, who is Babette?
Not me, that’s for sure! No, I was inspired by a short story and award-winning movie called “Babette’s Feast.” The endearing theme of food, grace, and community struck a note in my European-loving heart, and I knew, just knew, that I needed to open a restaurant that reflected the same. Voilà! Babette’s Café!
(For more on the story and movie, click here.)
“I’ll make this short. I began cooking on a lark in 1980 at a restaurant in Boston. I had graduated from The University of Virginia and was a little burned out. I took a bakery job for $3.50 an hour (in Boston, mind you) and have never left the restaurant business. I LOVE IT. I love the hours, the pace, the people, the food, the challenges and working with my hands and brain at the same time. Food is a craft. It’s real and it’s essential to everyone. Most of all, I love cooks: line cooks, prep cooks, chefs, sous chefs, all of them. They are a very unique group of people. After a few years I attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and upon graduation, headed to Atlanta with a boyfriend. The boyfriend didn’t last, but I’m still in Atlanta. There was never a shortage of jobs, and I moved quickly up the ranks in several restaurants and even a hotel. Upon reaching a glass ceiling in one position, in 1992 I decided to open my own place, Babette’s Cafe.
In 2015, after 23 years, I turned my kitchen over to Chef Justin Kurtz. He is talented, passionate, and able-bodied. He is also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He has gently thrown me out of my own kitchen and I’m OK with that. I have a great front of house staff and now spend my time fighting computers, light bulbs and marketing. Leaving a little time for me to take it easy.
– Marla Adams