Carrie Morey passes on restaurant skills to her three daughters
As told to Kinsey Gidick while the entire Morey family drove to Atlanta
I have an 11-, 8-, and 7-year-old. I don't try to cram how to cook down my girls' throats. They're like my little gophers in the kitchen. Some days they love it, and some days they don't. I'm not particularly a crafty person. I don't make things with my children, but we cook. Yesterday we made a whole Indian meal start to finish. It was my brother's birthday. I asked him, "What do you want?" He said, "I don't know. How about chicken tikka masala?" So we made bhindi masala, homemade richa. That's our after-school activity. Unless they have sports, we sit around the island after school and they help cook or create from scratch.
Will my girls take over my business? I definitely have one that's been saying it from the beginning, not only to work here but to own it. They all say they want to work there, but I tell them they have to have one other job before they work for the family business.
We were in the Charleston location this morning, and their favorite thing to do is take people's orders and go to the register. They all pack their Hot Little Biscuit T-shirts — it's cute. With our Atlanta location, it's so busy, I'll take one girl at a time. They look forward to it.
As a teenager and in college, I was a server for my mom Callie White's catering company and did a lot of prep work. That taught me so many things. On the kitchen end, I learned a lot about prep and basic knife skills, learning how to clean, picking cilantro off the stem — tedious things. Nobody wants to do the grunt work, but if you love being in the kitchen, you have to do it. Some people hate chopping onions — that's the stuff I love. My mom taught me what flavors go well together, how to grill, and make marinades, and to always leave the kitchen cleaner than you found it.
When we go over to mom's for family dinners today, she'll have me bring the girls over early so they can help make the bolognese or salad. One of my girls loves to set the table — that's her specialty. Yesterday she got out the linens and made placecards. She was like, "Is this a good design for my place setting?" I said, "Well, it's a birthday dinner so I think placecards are perfect." So she got out some beads and a paint pen and another was standing on the countertop getting out wine glasses.
I didn't realize how different it was until I talked to some of my friends. For so many people getting to school on time is hard. But my kids get up and make their own food. They can make an egg just as well as I can. They know how to keep the burner low and constantly stir the eggs, dropping the cheese at the right time. If I try to make their eggs, they get cranky. They compete over who makes the better egg! And snack after school is always a competition about the presentation. It's like an episode of Chopped.
I always try to teach them the importance of cleaning the kitchen and dishes. My husband was never taught that. It looks like a hurricane happened when he cooks. What's the greatest lesson they've learned in the kitchen? Hmm. Girls, what' the most important lesson I've taught you about being in the kitchen?
They say, "Clean as you go and use bear claws when you're chopping with a big knife." That means curl your knuckles so you don't cut your fingers. You're right, that's a good lesson.