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My Life: The Restaurateurs’ Daughter

A Look at Growing Up with Two Restaurant Owners as Parents


Life as the daughter of an entrepreneur — specifically a restaurant owner — can be very challenging. It surely is very different.

Getting up in the morning to the sound of hands typing violently on a keyboard or a note saying, “Went to work. Will be back by noon,” can get a little agitating at times. You may think that all that happens in the life of a restaurant owner is that they show up at work at five o’clock to pop in and say hello to customers. That’s just what you see on television shows, but behind the scenes there is so much more going on.

My father, Mitchell Sjerven, who owns bouchon and the Wine Cask, will sometimes wake up at 6 a.m., go to his computer, and reply to emails for an hour. He usually goes to work at 7:30 a.m. to answer phone calls, sign for deliveries, make deposits at the bank, and much more. Then he comes home to pick me up and take me to school.

Mitchell, Caroline, and Amy Sjerven working together on Thanksgiving night 2013.
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Courtesy Photo

Mitchell, Caroline, and Amy Sjerven working together on Thanksgiving night 2013.

During the day, both of my parents — my mom, Amy, also works at the restaurants — will go to work and handle the business side of restaurant ownership. I am then picked up from school, go home, and do my homework. This is when my parents and I share the most time together each day. I love dinnertime, because it’s always a surprise what we will eat! Sometimes its garlic, olive oil pasta with rosemary chicken, or we’ll have fun making homemade pizza, or just a simple chicken soup with French bread, which is my favorite. Sometimes we’ll eat at the dinner table or we might watch a movie with our meal.

Quite often, when I say, “Oh, I’m with my mom tonight,” people will assume that my parents are divorced, which reminds me that my family has a very different way of functioning. If one of my parents is at home with me, then usually the other is at work. When they are both at home, we try to treasure that time, but sometimes they are both at work. On holidays like the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving, I will get to work at bouchon restaurant with both of them. My hostess duties include taking people to tables and bringing their menus, cleaning and stuffing menus, answering phones, and occasionally doing the bouquets for the tables.

I like the way my lifestyle is, and I am so fortunate that my parents can combine their work and their play, so that they can have an interesting career that everyone benefits from.

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