Lauren Moskovitz of Miel and Alex Grainger of Silo work in kitchens across town from one another. Lauren specializes in baking as owner of her side business Little Mosko’s Bake Shop while Alex works more on the savory side as an executive chef. Alex moves swiftly and firmly while Lauren’s style feels a little more laid back. But despite their differences -- and maybe because of them -- they fit together in the kitchen like a cup of coffee and slice of pie.
“He usually starts something, and I finish it,” Lauren said. But Alex teased that it works another way: “She bosses me out of the kitchen.”
He paused to kiss her on the head as she whirled together herbs, vinegar, onion, garlic and mustards for a salad dressing. Though made from simple ingredients, the dressing also has special meaning to the couple. They created it together as part of their first meal cooking for Lauren’s family.
“We spent five hours making dinner for us four,” Alex said. “I love cooking for them. I love cooking for anyone.”
As guest chefs at The Nashville Food Project, the meal they would prepare had been chosen for them based on the produce and donations available for the week. But coincidentally, it closely matched one they had cooked together for the first time for family. A tomato sauce with chicken sausage over pasta followed the salad with a fruit crisp for dessert. “This is basically what we were doing,” Alex said. “It’s my favorite thing to cook.”
Of course the chefs would have much less time and fewer ingredients at the TNFP session -- two hours to cook dinner for 75. But these pros took no less care or pride in their work.
“We put a lot of love into our cooking,” he said.
Alex is originally from the Naples area of Florida, while Lauren grew up in Nashville. The daughter of Cindy and Scott Moskovitz, she spent her youth at the legendary Mosko’s and the Muncheonette formerly on Elliston Place.
Lauren and Alex met at a bar in New York City. Alex had moved to Manhattan to work as a chef. They had no mutual friends at the time. “I had come back from traveling and was in New York for a visit,” Lauren said. “He was having an after-work beer before going home.”
After that first meeting, they didn't see each other for three months, but they talked every day long-distance until their first proper date.
Alex relocated to Nashville about four months ago and took the job at Silo. A month later, Lauren, who has been diagnosed with celiac disease, launched her Little Mosko’s Bake Shop, which specializes in high-quality, gluten-free treats.
“He’s my number one taste-tester,” she said.
They support each other in a hectic, hard-working industry and still take time to help others through their cooking. On the day they visited, Alex slipped away from Silo while Lauren had been up baking for events until 2 a.m.
As they handed over their meal to the truck team, Marilyn Lane, one of the volunteers who delivers to John Glenn residential center each week, pulled the couple aside. She knows the cooks often work behind-the-scenes, and she wanted them to know how much the residents appreciate the meal.
“We get the hugs and thank yous,” she said.
Which prompted Lauren to boss Alex in the best possible way.
“Hug her,” she said, nudging him toward Marilyn. “Transfer the love.”