From her early days of cooking in college to working abroad in a gourmet restaurant, Georgia Flaum of Terroir at the Porch has mastered the art of making people happy through delicious food and friendly service. In this series of Faces Behind the Food, we sit down with Georgia to hear why she loves her work on the High Line. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.
Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. Any secret talents, perhaps?
I come from a big foodie family, but I didn't become interested in cooking until I had my own kitchen junior year of college. That year, I started a food blog and decided I’d travel as much as possible to experience new cuisines. When I studied abroad in Israel later in the year, I participated in an internship program in central Jerusalem where I worked in the kitchen of a gourmet restaurant called Eucalyptus. I didn't get paid, and I didn't speak Hebrew (hardly anyone spoke English), but I did learn a lot about the flow of a restaurant.
When I graduated from Wesleyan University two years ago, I knew I wanted to move to New York City and work in the food industry. But I had no idea where to start. I was intimidated to work in a restaurant kitchen with little experience and formal training, so I started as a busser at Hearth—Terroir's flagship restaurant—to experience the city’s restaurant scene. I worked my way up in various customer-facing roles. Now I run Terroir at the Porch on the High Line as general manager.
I still love to cook and bake at home, but I won’t be crossing over to the back of the house anytime soon.
Secret talents…let’s see, I studied viola as a child from ages five to eighteen, but I always knew it would never be my profession. Fun fact: when I was a kid growing up in Iowa, I was obsessed with New York City to the extent that I pretend I was from here. The truth is my parents moved from New York City to Iowa when they were pregnant with me. I just missed the cut to call myself a native New Yorker!
What do you love about your location on the High Line at West 15th Street?
We're the only space on the High Line where you can sit down to eat and drink and be waited on. Our customers really appreciate this.
It’s also incredible running a restaurant out of a converted vintage shipping container, designed by Richard H. Lewis Architects. The owners of Terroir, inspired by the High Line’s repurposed industrial materials, bought the shipping container with a new function in mind and brought it back to life. I like the symmetry of the converted shipping container that mirrors the railroad architecture. It's a treat spending my summers outside, basking in the sun (and sometimes braving the bad weather). I love how the sun ascends onto the porch at the same time, every day. As the sun spreads across the tables, we have more and more guests come and join us.
You interact with hundreds of customers each day. Share your favorite memory with us.
The other day, we were caught in a fierce downpour without warning. We had a full house, and suddenly there was a mass exodus of customers running for cover with beers in hand. I was soaked and so was everyone else. But my staff and I got everyone their food quickly and in good humor. Our customers laughed and an air of camaraderie swept over us.
Terroir at the Porch is located on the High Line at West 15th Street. It is open daily from noon to 9:30 PM. , and is open from daily, 12:00 PM– 9:30 PM.