April Bloomfield Won’t Hire White Guys With Dreadlocks, and Eleven Other Things You Should Know

Photo: Melissa Hom

It’s been a couple of months since New York’s profile of April Bloomfield, so how about another one? Lauren Collins has penned a glowing piece about the otherwise undercelebrated toque in The New Yorker’s “Food” issue, complete with plaudits from Tom Colicchio: “It’s refreshing to me to see someone succeed who doesn’t think the only way to get ahead is by backstabbing and hiring a publicist and going out there and getting drunk every night and getting on Page Six.” Funny thing is, he and Bloomfield share a publicist, but either way — you get his point. Conveniently timed with the opening of the John Dory Oyster Bar, here now are the twelve things we took away from the piece.

1. Only Lou Reed can get his Roquefort burger with onions, because a server mistakenly heeded his request when Bloomfield wasn’t there. Ken Friedman does, however, slip stealth Hellman’s to VIPs.

2. April Bloomfield remembers Kobe Bryant as “that golfer dude [Friedman] made me meet.”

3. Her cooks describe her style as “anal rustic.”

4. Her one rule about hiring cooks: “Nobody weird. Nobody with dreadlocks … Well, no white guys with dreadlocks.”

5. Frank Bruni gets VIP reservations at the Breslin, as does some guy named “Iggy the Cop.”

6. At the time that Jamie Oliver turned down the job as Spotted Pig’s chef and recommended Bloomfield, she didn’t know who Mario Batali was.

7. Bloomfield’s reaction when Ken Friedman suggested she put a tofu hot dog on the menu for his vegan investors: “If you’re thinking tofu hot dog, maybe I’m not the girl for you. In fact, I’m not interested in tofu at all.”

8. Bloomfield’s reaction when David Chang grabbed her by the wrists and insisted she stay for more post-shift pickle backs: “Ken, I want to go home so I can do my job in the morning like the responsible citizen I am.”

9. Bloomfield really wants to open a bakery, and Ken Friedman really wants to open a tongue-in-cheek red-sauce joint. But a Spotted Pig Las Vegas is looking more likely: “The Hard Rock Hotel people were saying to us, ‘We want a Spotted Pig in the Hard Rock.’ And April’s kind of like, ‘Vegas?’ But she’s changing now that she’s trying to buy her first apartment. She’s realizing, ‘Wow, we can make some money here,’ and that her cooks need to have places to go when they’re ready to move on.”

10. Even when he’s $500,000 over budget, Ken Friedman won’t budge on wine bottles: “Bottles are ornamental enough,” he says in a design meeting. “Go in any Keith McNally restaurant and it’s just bottles. Let’s do everything he does.”

11. The Spotted Pig was going to be called the Prodigal Pig, but none of Friedman’s friends knew what “prodigal” meant. Bloomfield is not a fan of other gastropub names, or gastropubs in general: “In London, there’s a chain of ones called the Slug & Lettuce — or the one that just opened here called the Rabbit in the Moon. Why name a pub that?”

12. Bloomfield inspects boiled peanuts like “a jeweler assessing stones.”

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April Bloomfield Won’t Hire White Guys With Dreadlocks, and Eleven Other