300 Broadway Boulevard. NE, Albuquerque, 505-265-4933
a restaurateur has been a growing experience. “I have to delegate,” she admits, “I can’t do it all myself. So I find myself developing a community with employees as well as my customers—another strength of being a woman in this business is that nurturing aspect.”
1494 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, 505-983-1411, www.mudunoodles.com
“Long Noodles, Low Impact, Long Life” is the succinct philosophy noted by chef and owner Mu Jing Lau that has helped her thrive over the fifteen year life of Mu Du Noodles. “In terms of restaurants, it’s always been a man’s world,” Mu candidly states, “but women have a different perspective on how to do restaurants. There is staying power because I have more home cooking than restaurant cooking.
Sixteen hour days, seven days a week? This is the life of a corporate chef, and was the life of Catherine O’Brien and Glenda Griswold. “We had vacation time,” O'Brien remembers, “but never any time to use it.” So, in what she refers to as a Thelma-and-Louise move, she and Griswold packed up and drove to New Mexico on a whim. They wanted to be fruitful and happy and to enjoy cooking again. Now both are eighteen years deep into their wildly successful Peas in a Pod catering company. In July of 2013 they opened Terra Cotta, where they passionately design menus that change monthly and are sourced locally. “We use New Mexico meats only,” O'Brien says, “from Heritage Farms up north. We use every ingredient possible that’s available locally. If there’s apricots, we make an apricot chutney.” Both O’Brien and Griswold have moved up in the ranks of the
food.” Although she admits it’s been difficult at times to earn respect, she has received enormous support from The Standard Diner and The Grove Café and Market, like-minded restaurants in her neighborhood.
I don’t particularly like to wow people about how it looks; I put more effort in how it tastes. That’s my brand, I think that’s why I’m successful.” The depth of her commitment goes beyond purchasing local organic meat and produce as often as possible; Mu Du Noodles also uses renewable energy sources and avidly recycles and composts their waste. Mu is a woman used to getting things done on her own, but becoming
edible Santa Fe | SPRING 2014
restaurant world, and they make a point to be good bosses and treat their employees well. “We make sure they understand why we do what we do, and give them opportunities to grow. Women tend to do that more.” Owning their own businesses has provided heartfelt connections to the Santa Fe community. For example, on a recent menu featuring comfort foods, O'Brien decided to name the dishes after the locals who frequent the restaurant. “There was one woman who just finished chemo,” she explains, “and was so excited to eat meatloaf again. I found out her mother used to make it with oatmeal and tomato paste, just like my mother used to, so we named the meatloaf dish in her honor.” 304 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, 505-989-1166, www.terracottawinebistro.com
Above left: Mu Jing Lau Above right: Catherine O'Brien and Glenda Griswold Photos by Melanie West
Published on Feb 26, 2014
Women and Food - The spring issue is a showcase of amazing women working in food and agriculture, from those defining local food distributio...