Woodspoon’s Natalie Pereira Says The Pandemic Has Many Lessons - For Those Willing To See Them
Produced by The Infatuation with
For 14 years, Natalie Pereira ran her restaurant, Woodspoon, as a sit-down restaurant, serving some of the best Brazilian food in town from a small DTLA storefront. Regulars raved about her chicken pot pie, which came piping hot to every table, and the costelinha com canjiquinha, a fall-off-the-bone pork short rib dish served with a side of corn grits. Then, of course, the pandemic reshaped it all, she says, forcing her to adjust from her once-regular interactions with customers, some of whom had been coming to Woodspoon since she first opened its doors in 2006.
Despite the hardship, Pereira has been able to stay optimistic. She believes the pandemic has many lessons for everyone–or least those willing to see them. In her case, she’s begun exploring making art beyond cooking, and learned to be grateful for the blessings of everyday life. At Woodspoon, she also saw her team rise to the challenge of helping her business navigate the restrictions of operating in the midst of a public health crisis: “Each person played an integral role in allowing us to continue doing what we love so much: cooking with care and passion.”
Woodspoon is proud to be a woman-owned restaurant, and Pareira has always taken care with small details that DTLA locals loved and appreciated: antique china and fresh flowers on every table. Though much of that has been difficult to sustain while operating as a takeout-only restaurant during the pandemic, she nevertheless feels strongly connected to the city’s food scene. “Los Angeles is filled with some of the most incredible chefs and cooks in the world, and that is beautiful to me,” she says.
Reflecting back on her life in LA, Perreira is most proud of her ability to evoke memories of her home in Brazil’s rural Minas Gerais through her food and hospitality. The one woman Perreira credits most is her mother, Francisca, who taught her daughter how to cook in a kitchen with no running water, no electricity, and a wood stove. “From the time I was a young girl, she taught me what she had learned,” she says. “Everything I do now is a reflection of, and is in honor of, her.”
DoorDash believes that supporting and advancing women-owned businesses is an ongoing effort that demands action. Action we can take with our product, voice, and resources, including the partners we choose. DoorDash is proud to partner with RE:Her, a local LA nonprofit created by women-owned restaurants, that is committed to advancing women in the restaurant industry through mentorship, resources, and small business grants.