By Joan Robbio
This periodic series of three images and responses to questions tells the stories of people of the Valley who love what they do. As Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”
This month features chef Adam Longworth and Lorien Wroten, co-owners of Kitchen-ette in Waitsfield since 2022. The couple is known in The Valley for their work at The Common Man and at The Pitcher Inn.
How long have you lived in Vermont and where did you grow up?
Lorien: I grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland. I have lived in Vermont for 12 years.
Adam: Born and raised in Northfield, VT, – lived in NYC for 10 years and back in VT for 12.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Lorien: A horse trainer.
Adam: Never really knew.
What was your first job and how did you get it?
Lorien: Mowing lawns in my neighborhood. My Dad bought me a push lawnmower and my first client. I had to get more clients. $10/lawn
Adam: Gas station in Northfield.
Who was the biggest influence in your decision to choose the work you now do?
Lorien: Tom and John Knorr, my brothers who owned the first restaurant I ever worked in. They opened multiple restaurant concepts. I worked for them learning from the ground up for over 10 years. They taught me many of my core hospitality beliefs and the value of preparation and staff/team training.
Adam: My dad, who was a chef. After cooking school it was Alfred Portale of the NYC Gotham Bar and Grill.
What steps did you take to get where you are today/what sacrifices have you made to get to this point in the work you do?
Lorien: A lot of hard work. I looked at every individual job/aspect of a job as a learning experience -- an opportunity to build knowledge and experience. I’ve sacrificed A LOT of holidays and weekends, leisure time and time with family and friends.
Adam: Worked my way up at Gotham Bar and Grill to Chef de Cuisine and back in Vermont, owned The Common Man. My sacrifices are the same as most hospitality workers – 65-75/hour weeks, every holiday and always put work first.
What is the best job advice that you’ve ever received?
Lorien: Say what you are going to do and do what you Say. Being a leader is mostly about consistency.
Adam: Show up on time.
What are you most grateful for in your life?
Lorien: So many things, even though I don’t always take enough time to think about them.
My health, a supportive partner (Adam), family, this beautiful place we get to call home, amazing friendships, life experiences.
Adam: Lorien, a strong partner in life and business; loving and supportive family friends and business partners; my health and the Thursday Night bike shop ride (best group in the world).
How do you give back?
Lorien: Adam and I have always been really committed to giving back within the community when and where possible. We have been really active in the mountain biking community. We love feeding people and supporting the food service community. Anytime we can give back around food and community, we are in.
Adam: By doing small, food-related community events and volunteer work.
What do you do in your free time?
Lorien: Though there isn’t nearly enough of it. Some of my favorite things are biking, horseback riding, the ocean, reading, our dog.
Adam: Ride my mountain bike every chance I get.
Do you have a favorite quote that you live by?
Lorien: “Blessed are the flexible.”
Adam: Not necessarily a quote I live by, but often how I feel. . . ”I’m so far behind I think I’m first.”