Williamson and Roberts met cute in a restaurant kitchen.
Top Chef alum Brooke Williamson and her husband, Nick Roberts, met cute, aptly, at work: Roberts was Williamson’s sous chef at the now-shuttered Zax in L.A. The relationship has survived a number of restaurants and a dozen years, and today the couple shares chef/owner billing at their two SoCal gastropubs, The Tripel and Hudson House, and the about-to-open Playa Provisions. We recently asked them how they juggle their private and public lives.
RH: How long have you been together, personally and professionally?
Williamson: We have been together since February 2002. We started working together about a year before that, and we’ve been married six and a half years.
RH: How do you divide your duties at the restaurants?
Roberts: We used to work together more, but now that we have multiple locations, we split up more tasks. At one point there was almost no point in having two cars, but now we divide our time depending on where we need to be the most. Because we have a five-year-old child, we take turns being parents as well.
We do still spend a lot of time together, and when I go to Hudson House and Brooke is at Tripel, we fill each other in.
RH: Who is better at what?
Roberts: You’re going to start an argument (laughing).
Williamson: I probably do more of the paperwork, while Nick is more organized. He does more of the manual labor. When it comes to organizing the kitchen, for example, that’s Nick’s job.
RH: If and when you get to take a day off, what’s an ideal way for you to spend it?
Roberts: The restaurants are only closed on major holidays, and not all of them. We do try to take off at least Sundays. We try to go on as many adventures as we possibly can.
Williams: We will hike or we bike near the beach, since we are kind of outdoorsy people. We love the beach and ocean, so we’ll take a drive up the coast and get some seafood.
A lot of times it revolves around getting to a destination and having a meal. So we might go to Chinatown and have dinner.
RH: Do you leave your work behind when you close the restaurants each day?
Roberts: We talk about work.
Williams: I think our work is our lives, and it would be impossible to leave work at work.
Roberts: It’s the restaurant business, so there is always something happening. At home, we might just sit down with a bottle of wine and create our next menu. There is rarely a time when there isn’t something that needs to be discussed.
But if we go on vacation, work sits on the side. We’ll check in, but we try to enjoy it.