A Day In the Life of a Line Cook at a Le Coucou, A Popular Upscale Restaurant in New York City

Bon Apétit editor Amanda Shapiro spent a day in December 2017 shadowing Nana Araba Wilmot, first meeting Wilmot at her apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and accompanying to her job as a line cook at the upscale restaurant Le Coucou in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. During Wilmot’s 11 hour shift, Shapiro learned that Wilmot doesn’t mind the long commute, long hours or even the low rate of pay, because she loves what she’s doing. However, real economic concerns, the price of healthcare and the stress of living in New York City makes Wilmot wonder how long it will last.

‘Everything in New York is harder,…It doesn’t really feel sustainable….If you asked me a couple years ago, I would’ve been like, ‘Yeah, I want to open my own restaurant …But the more you get into the industry, you see how competitive and stressful it is, and you’re like, ‘Do I really want that?’. Still, she dreams about what her maybe-someday restaurant might look like. It would be back in Philly, and it would serve upscale Afro-Caribbean food.