Olivia Wilson

Olivia Wilson 2C.jpg

Executive Pastry Chef & Co-Owner, Brenner Pass + Chairlift

3200 Rockbridge Street Suite 100 | Richmond

brennerpassrva.com

chairliftrva.com

 

Boss to Boss

The owner of Whisk, Morgan Botwinick, has questions for fellow pastry chef, Olivia Wilson.

What's your morning routine?

I wake up, sometimes make a smoothie, then head to work.

Some people think being a chef is either glamorous or requires a pretty simple skill set; what would you say to them?

In my situation, it is neither. Being a chef today can mean so many different things. But for me, it’s dirty, intimate, and hard on your body and mind, but also so rewarding and fulfilling.

What's one thing that's always in your fridge at home?

Pickles.

What has the transition been like going from chef to also part-owner?

It’s been interesting. It’s much harder in ways I couldn't have imagined, like having to let great employees go in order for the business to move forward. But a lot of things have been smoother than I expected; I underestimated how much my 13 years in kitchens made me a good problem solver and quick on my toes.

What can't you live without in the kitchen?

Bowl scraper.

What is a food trend you can't stand?

I’m pretty shocked that artificial coloring of foods is still so popular.

How do you deal with public negative feedback?

I’ve learned to let it go. Unless it’s negative feedback from a guest or team member, I don't have the energy to get upset over that noise.

How do you deal with disagreement in the kitchen, either with your partners or employees who are under your supervision?
I sit down with them and have a conversation. Transparency is necessary in this industry, but it isn't always utilized. I’m trying to make it the norm.

If you were to choose a different career, what would it be?

In my dream world, a painter. In my super dream world, a neurosurgeon.

What's your go-to guilty pleasure food?

I don't like to think of any foods as guilty, especially if they make me happy. I fucking love chips and Old Bay Cheese Curls.

What's your earliest food memory?

Eating crabs with my family on our back deck, while learning about backfin, butter, vinegar, saltines and Old Bay. Also, boiled peanuts on the way to the beach!