Dax Mason and Lawson Smith, creators of Mason, a local restaurant in Sherwood specializing in Italian and French food with fresh, local ingredients. A couple things stood out to me about our conversation. First was the passion they have about what they do. For Dax, it’s all about creating amazing food. You’ll be able to tell just by hearing the way he talks about it that he loves what he does. For Lawson, on the other hand, it’s about running a business and creating everything about the customer experience that surrounds the food. Each of them have passions and skillsets that are different from the other, but they combine to make a thriving restaurant. Finally, I don’t think most couples could successfully run a restaurant together and maintain a healthy marriage. But they do. For all the stress and long hours trapped together as a result of running a restaurant, they have a lot of love and respect for each other. There’s a lot to learn from them on many levels.
Their thoughts on how aspiring chefs should acquire the necessary skills and knowledge were really interesting to me. They’re both big proponents of learning by doing, and I think in a world rife with credentialism there’s a lot to be said for that.
Finally, they’ve created great culture that has encouraged employees to stay with them far longer than the restaurant industry’s average. Even through a months-long remodel, they found meaningful work for their team to be part of, and have made a point of regularly expressing their sincere appreciation.
Check them out on Railroad Street in Sherwood, OR. And on facebook https://www.facebook.com/MasonRestaurantSherwood/