Leading up to the launch of Magnolia Network, Chip and Joanna Gaines created a new digital series to virtually catch up with the people behind their new TV network’s shows. The renovation experts created the Road to Launch series so that viewers can get to know the “Magnolia Storytellers” better and learn how they’re dealing with these challenging times. On Thursday, Jo took to Instagram to share the first episode, which spotlights Erin French of The Lost Kitchen.
The Lost Kitchen features French and her restaurant of the same name. After leaving her hometown of Maine, French returned and opened her restaurant, which has a staff of all women, who didn’t have much culinary training when they were hired. Typically, the restaurant serves about 50 people a night, and the only way to make a reservation is to send a post card.
“Who she is and what she stands for really captured Jo and I’s heart,” Chip says of French at the beginning of the video.”But just like with most of the restaurants in America, she has had to shut her doors due to COVID-19. So we wanted to see how she’s doing.” Jo adds: “We also just wanted to give you a little more insight of her show and what’s that gonna be.”
Since they could only serve at a quarter capacity (which is just 12 people at The Lost Kitchen), French says it didn’t make a lot of sense to open the restaurant. “You want people to come into the space, and you want them to feel like they’re in your home. And I can’t do that right now if I’m covered in a mask.” French tells Chip and Jo. “This is supposed to be a place to get away and relax and forget about it all. And so something about opening this space up doesn’t feel right to me.” Instead, French has been working on other projects that she’s been wanting to explore, but never had a chance to while the restaurant was open.
One of the projects she and her team have been tackling is an online farmer’s market with fresh, local food. They’ve also started offering lunch (outdoors, of course), something they’ve never done before. And since she’s always wanted places for people to stay the night after eating at the Lost Kitchen, she’s building cabins near the restaurant.
When Chip asks about how she feels going forward, French admits there are moments that can be devastating when she goes to the restaurant and wonders if it’s over. “But we have to get over that, and I keep telling myself, ‘You just have to forget everything you thought you know.’ Dining out has completely changed, and it’s what you’re going to make it to be now because we have to find a way to be together in a safe way. And socialize. And feed our mental health because it was never all about the way everything tasted. It was about making people feel good together. So how do we get back to that?”
Excited for the launch for Magnolia Network? Find out more about the rest of the shows on Magnolia Network here.
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