Ellen Bennett’s cleverly designed aprons are worn by the kitchen staff at restaurants like Bäco Mercat and Ink. as well as at SpaceX and Google. Here she shows the steps it took to go from appearing on Mexican TV to working the line at Providence to ruling the American apron game:
Step 1: Get in the Kitchen
“My mother was a nurse working 12-hour shifts. I’d look for recipes online and teach myself to cook. One time my mom came home to find I’d made seven dozen bagels!”
Step 2: Be a Mexican Celebrity
“I moved from Glendale to Mexico when I was 19 and went to restaurant management school. I also had an agent who got me a job doing the lottery live on TV Azteca.”
Step 3: Come back to L.A.
Step 4: Cook at Top Restaurants
“I stormed into Providence and demanded a job. Michael Cimarusti let me stage. I knew nothing, but two weeks later he hired me. I did the same at Lazy Ox.”
Step 5: Take a Chance
“Josef Centeno was placing an apron order with another woman and asked if I wanted one. I didn’t even sew, but I convinced him on the spot to let me make the aprons.”
Step 6: Hustle
“I ran around town asking if anyone would make a pattern for me if I cooked them dinner. I went to fabric places and did the same thing. I scrounged, but I made it work.”
Step 7: Build an Empire
“I started the company in 2012; within six months we had chef Bryan Vol-taggio, Mélisse, Animal, and all Centeno’s restaurants. Now we have more than 600 accounts.”
Step 8: Make 1,000 aprons a week!
Ellen Bennett is one of 25 L.A. “Food Lovers” featured in our November, 2014 Food Lovers Guide on newsstands now