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  SAUCE MAGAZINE
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Oct 24, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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In This Issue: A Chat with Bonnie and Joe Devoti

November 5th 10:11am, 2013

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Bonnie and Joe Devoti win Best Parents Award. After raising two sons and working nearly 30 years – she at Southwestern Bell, he at Blue Cross – they came out of retirement to help their son, chef Anthony Devoti, turn his farm-to-table concept into a reality. Seven years later, Devoti’s mom and dad are still at Five Bistro, still smiling.

How did you get involved with Five?
B:
We visited Anthony in San Francisco where they were doing farm-to-table things. He said, “I want to come home and do this.” When he came home, we did a little bit of catering out of our home. It got to be really big, and we said, “We need to get this out of the house.”

Did you plan on helping out for so long?
J: We said, “We’ll give you a little help for about a year.”

You even moved closer to Five.
J: We were living in Chesterfield when he opened this place. We’d drive down and be there until 8 or 9 at night. We said, “This is insane.” So we moved to The Hill.
B: We saw that little man flying in front of Hampton Inn saying, “If you lived here, you’d be home.” We’d say, “Oh, my gosh, we would! And we gotta ride all the way to Chesterfield!”

What are your roles now?
B:
Joe and I clean the place.
J: We call it “volunteer work.”
B: If you go into a restaurant and the restroom is clean, it has a lot to say about what’s happening there. But our biggest role is meeting and knowing our customers.
J: We make rounds to the tables.

Has technology been a learning curve?
B: Now we have Open Table [reservation system].
J: But we were doing things manually. We’d be forwarding the restaurant’s phone to our cell phones.
B: So you’re walking through Dierbergs, and your phone rings and you have the reservation book in the purse. We didn’t want to miss a reservation.

Have the composed dishes at Five inspired you to cook fancy meals at home?
B:
Oh, yeah. We’ll take a picture and send it to him [Anthony] and say, “Do you need any help over there?”

 What were dinners like when your kids were growing up?
J: We were comfort food kind of people: meatloaf, stew, roasts, steaks, lots of chicken.
B: We would plan the meals, and one of the boys would start it so that when we got home at 6:30 or 7 p.m., we could sit down and eat. I’m really very proud that every night we ate dinner together.

Who’s cooking Thanksgiving dinner?
B: Anthony always makes the meat entree. I bring my mom’s dressing. It’s so good.

Who’s the cook at home?
J: We cook together – and we’re still married.

After being married almost 45 years, do you do everything together?
B: He just showed me this article in The Wall Street Journal. It said retirees should not spend so much time together. It hurt my feelings.

How much longer will you lend a hand at Five?
B: I don’t know if I’d ever want to pull away from here totally.
J: We’re not ancient, but it’s nice being around young people.

What’s the hardest thing about working with family?
J: To say, “This is your business partner, not your son.”
B: I’m Miss Sensitivity. These kids out here are my extended family. So if he [Anthony] gets gruff with them, it’s like “Don’t holler at your little sister.”

What’s the best thing about working with family?
B: We are so proud of him, I could just cry. The best thing for me: seeing your child be a success.

 -photo by Ashley Gieseking

 

By Ligaya Figueras

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One Response to “In This Issue: A Chat with Bonnie and Joe Devoti”

  1. Jane Howard Says:
    November 9th, 2013 at 11:47 am

    The Devoti family are incredible people. I met them many years ago when out of the goodness of their heart they made food and served it after a funeral. They have always been family and community oriented. FIVE is a fabulous restaurant! Great food, great people and a great feeling of comfort the moment you walk in the front door. I highly recommend this special restaurant!

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