A Family Affair. Meet Robin, Ashley & Paulina Swan of ROUX

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(photography by Cara Livermoreof Chickpea Magazine)

Tell us a little about yourself  and what you do.

Robin Swan, Ashley Swan-Abramson, Paulina Swan. We run ROUX, a french kitchen located on Park Ave. Robin (mother) is the owner of ROUX (along with Ox and Stone with her son Jon Swan), Ashley (daughter) is the head chef of Roux and Paulina (daughter) is the head bartender.

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What are you passionate about? What makes you tick?

(Ashley) What makes me passionate is cooking general. I have always loved it whether it is at home cooking for my family or in the restaurant for customers. Cooking and creating dishes is an art. The only way to succeed in this business is having a love and passion for it.

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(lettering by Jess Allyn of Bless the Messy)

How did you get started? What were some of the difficulties you faced in starting?

(Robin) started out in Rochester owning coffee bars around the city (Sorelle) in 1993. My biggest difficulty when I was getting started was not being able to spend enough time with my children as I could. I had to work all the time to make sure I could take care of them on my own.

(Ashley & Paulina) We have a great deal of respect for our mom because of all the hard work she always put forward!

(Ashley) Worked at Cibon for 8 years then attended the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan graduating in 2009

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What is your biggest regret?

(Ashley) My biggest regret would probably be not staying in New York for a short time after culinary school to learn and work under some amazing chefs. Right after school I came back to Rochester to return working at Cibon. I am very grateful though to have been able to open my dream restaurant Roux with my family!

What is your best advice to someone just starting out? What advice do you wish someone had said to you?

(Robin) Some advice I would give to someone starting out would be to always trust your instincts. Also make sure you always follow through with anything you do.

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What inspires you? How do you recharge creatively?

(Ashley) How I recharge creatively is changing my menu each season, working with local seasonal ingredients and making a fresh new menu every 3 months.

What is your favorite part of what you do?

(Ashley) My favorite part of what I do is to be able to cook and work with food as my job, and to make people happy with food. It is always amazing and gratifying to me when a customer loves what we have prepared for them and comes back again and again. It makes all of the hard work worth it.

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Name some local creatives that you really admire.

We all admire is Mark Cupolo from Osteria Rocco. His restaurant is one of our favorites in the city and he is so passionate about his food.  

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