My husband, the ultimate gourmand (that’s fancy for "foodie"), booked our Mother’s Day brunch at Prune, a fabulous restaurant in the East Village with a "simple, quirky seasonal American menu," and discovered that both the chef/owner Gabrielle Hamilton and her sous chef Ginevra Iverson were both pregnant! Gabrielle gave birth to a son on April 24th and Ginevra is due in 3 weeks, at the end of May.
I called the restaurant to get the details about Gabrielle’s baby and spoke to Chef Gabrielle herself. She told me that Leone (pronounced lay-oh-nay) was born on April 24th at 10 pm, weighing 8 lbs 3 oz. She said, Leone "eats, sleeps and poops and all of the things he’s supposed to do, and I like him!" She was back to work the day after she got out of the hospital, but just for an hour, and now is working 6 hour days instead of the 18 hours that a restaurant day usually involves. She said, "I’m trying to run a business and not run myself into the ground." Her plans for Mother’s Day are not decided yet but will probably involve some time at the restaurant because it’s such a busy day for them.
As this article in the New York Post highlights, being a pregnant chef presents specific challenges. Imagine having morning sickness and being around food all day? Or taking up twice as much room in a crowded, busy kitchen? Or running up and down stairs to their walk-in fridge when you’re huge and exhausted?
It’s rare to see a pregnant chef because female chefs are rare themselves but two at the same time? "There are not a lot of career line cooks or career chefs who are women," Ginevra told the NY Post. "They sort of fade out after the age of 23 or 24. They go to pastry, or to the Food Network." Gabrielle agreed- "It’s sort of unusual to see two women on the line, but to see two fat cows working the line. Now that’s something."
Prune is located at 54 E 1st St, between 1st & 2nd Ave. Phone: 212-677-6221
Click here for the menu.