If you haven't stopped by Roger's Gardens lately, you'll soon have a reason to. Rich Mead's Farmhouse concept is taking shape as we head into the holiday season. Stay for a spell and get to know him in today's installment.
My interview with Rich began yesterday, so catch up over here. When you're ready to learn about his favorite childhood memory, keep reading below!
Where did you grow up? If you're not from Orange County, what brought you here? Washington D.C. I came to Newport Beach to open Sage. My brother lived here, and despite what everyone thinks, The Irvine Company was nice enough to lease me the Sage space in Eastbluff. I had been trying to open a restaurant in Los Angeles. I saw the space, and was able to open with a small amount of money and a lot of sweat and vision.
What's your favorite childhood memory? Seems like (it is) so long ago. Fried clam sandwiches in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, when my uncle would come from New York City on a Friday night in the summertime. Fried clams, white burger bun, cocktail sauce all wrapped in wax paper.
Do you have any skills that are non-food related? What are they? Used to be able to ski and play golf.
What did you study in school? Did you always plan on being in foodservice? I got a BA in Economics many years ago. Was living in Mammoth a long time ago, and realized I wasn't going to get my MBA. At the time, cooking was just starting to be a career, and I saw an opportunity to grow as a person who could cook. I understood how to run a restaurant from the back to the front, as opposed to the other way around.
Last thing you looked up/searched online: My bank statement.
When you're not working on a restaurant concept, what are you doing in your free time? Traveling, eating, spending time with friends and family.
Last book you read; how was it? The Third Plate by Dan Barber--long but really great. You have to be into food, sustainability and thinking about how we can make our food system better.
What inspires/motivates you? When I travel, I always visit farmer's markets to get a sense of the heart of communities. I go to art galleries to relax and see creative visions; allow myself a chance to expand on different thoughts, visually and culinary.
My gut inspiration and motivation comes from trying to show people that what I am doing works, and that I can work as hard as anyone else with a sense of purpose, no matter how old we get. I think more people have a better idea of what we were doing a while ago and are willing to give it a try--whatever that might be.
Tell us something most people don't know about you. I'm left-handed.
Hardest lesson you've learned: Sometimes in business you have to put friends and emotion aside and make decisions based on numbers.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
What would you be doing if you weren't in the industry? Wish I could I could tell you, but I have been immersed in food for so long that I have no idea.
Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you and/or Farmhouse? I am looking forward to being able to share with everyone the things I have learned since we left Sage. The food I have been working on, the people we have met, I can't wait to share with our customers the fun and excitement I think we can bring to the dining scene in our area. Simple, healthy and friendly.
Farmhouse will be located at 2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd in Corona del Mar, (949) 640-5800; www.rogersgardens.com.