We had the good fortune of connecting with andrea ruth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi andrea, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I was an actor for many years, and I loved cooking. The two seemed unrelated to me, but most actors need day jobs, so eventually I went to cooking school at the New School of Cooking. I worked for a lot of other chefs, and I worked for myself, and I much preferred working for myself! I loved coming up with the menus, and just like acting work I loved that it was project based. We did a funeral, a movie opening, a wedding, a post wedding party, and lots of fundraisers for theatre companies that I already loved. My catering company, Salty Baby was directly in opposition to my last catering company and the last caterer I worked for. We decided we wanted it to be cutsie, whimsical, unpretentious, and a little bit Jewish. Not Kosher or anything, but just all the things I love from my own upbringing, so Salty Baby is very personal.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am very proud of the food we produce at Salty Baby. It is beautiful, but very honest and simple. The ingredients are farmer’s market fresh, made in small batches by a small team of really excellent chefs and we all put our spin into the mix. I know that I am learning all the time from the chefs who work with me, so on my gigs, I am the boss, but if they called me and asked me to work one of their jobs, I’d be delighted! We are more like collaborative artists working together than employers and employees. One day I asked my friend and partner chef on a job to make tomato soup with Moroccan flavors. I turned around to see him putting tequila in it. I was like, “Dude! What are you doing?” He just laughed and said, “making soup.” I tasted it. It was fabulous. Now I put tequila in my tomato soup!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow this is a really tough one, our world has been so contracted since the beginning of the pandemic. We usually take people out to eat, a LOT. When my brother came last year, we had to narrow it down we had so many places and not enough time so we said ok, ALL Asian food! We went to Tsujita Annex for the the absolute best Tsukemen Ramen, we hit Din Tai Fung for Taiwanese soup dumplings, we went for sushi at Sushi Fumi in West hollywood and then we had to get tacos too. I LOVE Guisados, and they were kind enough to open another restaurant in my neighborhood so I don’t have to drive all the way to Silverlake. But if I’m driving far, I’m going to go past Silverlake to Eagle Rock to hit up El Huarache Azteca, especially if it’s Sunday and they are making Barbacoa de Borrego, slow cooked lamb with spicy consumé. If you get me started on Mexican food, I have to send you to a gas station in Hollywood on Vine that has the greatest taco truck. We called them Gas Station Tacos for years until we decided we should learn their name and review them on Yelp, that’s Chicquis Taco Truck! During the pandemic we discovered a new source of take out in Ijuu the Strange Beast which is a Japanese katsu sandwich place named after a cute little black beastie who struts around. We loved those sandos and that cartoon so much we named our own little black beastie, our new kitten, Ijuu! I suppose you can do more than eat in LA. If you have kids you can go to the tar pits and let them run around all day. If you like nature you can take one of 10,000 beautiful hikes. If you do that near Santa Monica you can see the Pacific when you reach the top! If you do that though you should really stop in at Bay Cities Deli and get a submarine sandwich. The Best!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I got and continue to get a lot of inspiration from one of the food companies I work for, called LA Foodworks. The owner is in my opinion a brilliant businesswoman who has a really admirable work-life balance. She is also the person I have worked for the longest because she treats all her workers with respect, and that was something that I never wanted to be swayed away from. Salty Baby’s crew is very happy on all our gigs because the workers are all treated as team members in the production of whatever event we are putting together.