When you hear and read about restaurants receiving the highest industry honor, a Michelin star, the likelihood of finding a soul food eatery on the list is slim to none. But hopefully one day that will all change as New York restaurant owner Lawrence Page sets out on a journey to change that. Making its debut on Thursday, March 16 on WE TV, the new reality series “Hustle & Soul” will take audiences on Page’s journey to become one of the first African-American-owned restaurant to receive the prestigious recognition.
“Everyone has a vital part in the restaurant in order to get a Michelin star, from the front of the house to the back of the house. So it is all about consistency and being very creative and having the perfect attitude when the inspector walks through that door,” says Page. The New York native shares his dream with the team during the first episode in an effort to get everyone on board and working toward the same goal. “It hasn’t been easy. We have to take our game from a four to a ten and it has been very challenging. But I feel that I can be one of the first African-Americans to actually get a Michelin star so it is something that I am going to never give up or stop trying.”
Page is the owner of The Pink Teacup, located in Brooklyn with history dating back to 1954. Seven years ago, Page purchased the restaurant as well as assumed its debt looking to keep its soul food traditions alive. Crediting his mom with giving him is culinary chops, he says, “How do I keep the greatness of soul food and elevate it to the next level because it deserves to be talked about.”
The menu clearly reflects this thought with his gluten-free, deep-fried catfish served with cheese grits, greens seasoned served with smoked turkey and crispy fried chicken that has bathed in his mixture of wet and dry ingredients and soaked overnight; sometimes for two days. Page’s menu is very intentionally with each dish being carefully created for that desired reaction. “How do you slam the first bite to get them to say, ‘Wow, this is actually better than my momma’s.’ And that is my goal, to beat your momma,” says Page.
‘Hustle & Soul” offers six action-packed and at times explosive episodes that follow Page and his team around the restaurant and New York as they challenge themselves to put the restaurant and team work first over conflicts that could ultimately cost them the opportunity of even getting on the radar of Michelin inspectors.
A sneak preview revealed many questions that will have viewers on the edge of their seats. Can the team put their differences aside to focus on Page’s goal? Will Page propose to his girlfriend Ana who is also the general manager? Can Thandi gain Page’s confidence and work her way up to become the general manager? Does Page and Candice share a past that could affect their working relationship and the chance for The Pink Teacup to receive its Michelin Star? You’ll have to tune in with the rest of us each Thursday from 10 pm EST/PST on WE TV to find out.