“Do you help out at the restaurants?”
Angela Stowell says she’s gotten this question more than once—it’s the plight of every chef’s partner, professional or private. It’s patronizing at best, but downright laughable in Stowell’s case, who is at least equally responsible for growing Ethan Stowell Restaurants into its current local mega-empire status as her celebrity chef husband.
But on Wednesday, Angela stepped out on her own, announcing that she’ll be taking over as the CEO of nonprofit organization FareStart in October. What that means for ESR is that they’ll soon be short one leader—word is that in the short term they’ll reorganize and cover Angela's day-to-day tasks within the company of over 400 employees, but they'll be searching for a replacement CEO.
“[Ethan and I] have grown this really great thing together, but it's really important for me to do my own thing and have my own identity,” she says. “We all go through periods of our lives where we go, ‘Is this really what we want to be doing?’ I’m sure Ethan's gone through that, too. I'm just in this really unique position where my skill set can be transferred to someone else.”
Ethan and Angela started their business 10 years ago, when Angela says she was handling all the back-of-house logistics from their 600-square-foot apartment. She grew into a CEO organically—she says similarly to how former FareStart CEO Megan Karch grew the nonprofit over her 18 years there.
Leaving the family business is not an easy choice, for obvious reasons. But Angela said she’s looking forward to focusing her energy on community and service, a passion of hers she’s cultivated at ESR—she says she’s always cared much more about the people than a plate of pretty food—but will be able to develop exponentially at FareStart. She’s also excited about being able to go home at the end of the day and talk about something more than just work or kids (the Stowells have two young boys—solidifying Angela’s reputation as a superhuman). Though she acknowledges how wonderful it’s been to build this business together, she’s looking forward to “cheering everyone on from the sidelines,” she says.
“For me, at the end of the day, I want my kids to be able to say, ‘My dad has all these amazing restaurants and grew this business, and my mom is a complete badass running this organization and helping people out of homelessness.’"
We’re looking forward to seeing just how much good she can accomplish there.