Gayle Covner, New York City native and Blueprint Café founder, brings a synergy of culture and cuisine to Barrio Logan. Covner also runs In Good Taste, a thriving catering business.
Q: What is the inspiration and concept behind Blueprint Café?
A: We wanted to bring a predominately working neighborhood, fresh, bountiful and seasonal offerings, beautifully presented in a casual atmosphere and at affordable pricing.
Q: What inspired you to start a restaurant in addition to your catering business, In Good Taste?
A: Blueprint Cafe is a natural fit. We initially built our catering business, In Good Taste, in the beautiful light filled commercial kitchen at Blueprint’s current location, 1805 Newton, a space once occupied by a shuttered restaurant. It was always the plan to open a restaurant using the catering staff and select items from the catering menu. Everyone makes out -- it's a good deal all around.
Q: When did you realize food was your passion?
A: At 16, I had always considered a life in fine arts -- sculpting, painting, photography -- but then I had the privilege of being mentored by an older couple who introduced me to fine food and wines and traveling. Thant changed my direction and life. Plus I always liked to play with food.
Q: How did you end up in San Diego County, coming from New York City? How has that influenced your culinary background?
A: I was a New York City chef and flew west during a bleak winter to survey the West Coast food scene in the late 1980s. The waving palm trees and the warmth were welcoming to my cold bones and that’s all it took. I consider New York City to be the seminal culinary center of the U.S., where it’s serious and inspiring.
Q: What inspires your dishes at Blueprint?
A: Simply put: product season-ability.
Q: What are the biggest challenges in running a restaurant vs. a catering business?
A: Not knowing who or how many good folks will show up when we unlock the door at Blueprint Cafe. Catering has predictability built-in.
Q: How have you tried to distinguish what you do in Barrio Logan with the neighboring downtown area?
A: I remain true to my own esthetic -- wholesome, non-trendy, well portioned, spiced-herbed and yummy. I don't know what everyone else does, I just make food I like to eat.
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