The Takeaway: Tim McDiarmid of The Good Kind Wants You to Know the Food Business is Tough

click to enlarge The Takeaway: Tim McDiarmid of The Good Kind Wants You to Know the Food Business is Tough
Courtesy of the Good Kind
Name: Tim McDiarmid
Job: Founder of The Good Kind Hospitality Group and Tim the Girl Catering
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia
Years in food service: 30
Big impact: Operates a catering company plus The Good Kind restaurant and Ivy Hall events center, both in Southtown
Money quote: “Food is work; nobody should be doing this for free.”

Tell us about your background and how you got where you are?
I worked my way through university in restaurants. Then I moved to New York City, where I lived for 20 years and worked in every aspect of restaurants — design, kitchens, planning — and then spent two years at a New York-based organic farm. It was my first foray into getting meals onto the table for 100 people at a time. I moved back to New York City, and then moved to San Antonio 10 years ago. I was a full-time single parent; I didn’t know what I was going to do here. I wanted to figure out what I could do while taking care of a child. I realized I could work from home with catering.

How would you describe your food?
I’d say it’s upscale hippie food with a Mediterranean bent. I spent time working in Italy. It’s really fresh, playful, farm-to-table food.

What’s your favorite ingredient to cook with and why?
Any and all vegetables. Any kind of aromatic spice like cardamom is a favorite. And ginger. I drink fresh turmeric and ginger every single day of my life.

What’s your secret weapon at work?
My mind, my intelligence, my willingness to learn. For a long time, I was so panicked about being a great boss. Now I hire people that are smarter than me.

What do you wish more people understood about your job and restaurant?
I wish more people understood how tough it is in this industry. It’s a very intense business. I wish people understood that asking restaurateurs constantly for free things, it’s hard. People need to understand that restaurants have one of the shittiest profit margins. Food is work; nobody should be doing this for free. There are so many people involved.

How important is sustainability to your business?
Very. We almost go broke using the highest quality eco-friendly materials and ingredients. It’s super important. People can talk about sustainability all day, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t figure out how to make money. Then there’s business sustainability – the health and happiness of your employees, having a manageable life, they’re all super important to me.”

What’s next for you?
We just closed [The Good Kind] at the Pearl a few days ago, and I’m super excited to have my whole focus on one property. We’re activating Ivy Hall a lot more, more special events at the restaurant, so that means I have more time to spend creating more events, including a special James Beard dinner this year. We’re always working on becoming more sustainable and working on the team.

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