“Brandt’s upstairs. Sure, go on up..” the waitress said.
A little timid, I climbed Cambridge Street’s stairs, looking for the owner who might hire me. I don’t remember why I didn’t end up working at Nantucket’s Too Cool for School restaurant, but I do remember the tall, lanky Brandt Gould, sitting at his desk with his feet up, absent-mindedly glancing at me as he paged through the pile of papers on his lap.
I didn’t see Brandt for 10+ years until I joined the Advisory Board of the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket and got to know he and his wife, Gabrielle. Gabrielle is a dramatic bundle of energy who Gets. Stuff. Done. Not only is she a whirlwind of productivity, but she has a passion for her family, food, wine, theatre and an obsession with swimming.
I happily joined the Gould’s on their daily 7 am swim out past Bartlett’s Farm a few weeks ago to talk about how they manage to live A Delicious Lifestyle…
Heading out to the water at Bartlett’s Farm!
What does “A Delicious Lifestyle” mean to you?
GABRIELLE: Love life, the people and seasons around you, and know what you do, eat, drink and say today shapes your tomorrow! Try everything at least once and step outside of your comfort zone.
BRANDT: “Delicious” is an under-appreciated word.. I apply it to the sweet spot, the slang: “Sweeeet…” “Dee-lish”. We all struggle, but life can be lush, deeply complex. We need to slow down and savor it by making choices to crawl into the blueberry bushes or plunge into October waters for scallops… The payoff is huge and often delicious.
What brought you to Nantucket?
GABRIELLE: We each came to Nantucket as children… Brandt came to Nantucket after college to open a restaurant. (Helloooo Cambridge Street!). I came to the island for a long weekend; stayed to work at my family’s restaurant and met this very handsome charming gentleman (That would be Brandt). That weekend turned into a revolving run of weekends between NY and ACK, and post-Sept 11th he called and asked if I could “give up NY for a bit and stay with him?” 15 years later, here we are!
What keeps you on Nantucket?
We almost just left this past March. We were on vacation with friends and agreed that after 5 years of searching for our next restaurant / project, it was clearly time for us to go… Alas, Nantucket had other plans. Literally as our plane landed, a call came in that 130 Pleasant was available – 3 days later, we were signing a lease and designing a new space and concept that is now ATLAS. I liken it to LOST – we just were not yet meant to leave…
BRANDT: We have carefully considered other locations (who doesn’t in March?), but Nantucket’s environment and opportunities are unique. We attached to the community and the tightly and strangely woven fabric of people.
How would you define your Profession?
Gabrielle laughs and says, “Does multi-tasker count?” I am a partner at Atlas and handle the front of the house, the wine list, desserts, and business and marketing. During the day, I work with Neil Marttila at Nantucket Bank as VP of Business Development.
Brandt is the Chef and Owner at ATLAS here on Nantucket. (He also designed and did the build out in six weeks!)
What inspires you?
GABRIELLE: The people in my life who are 20 to 30 years older and maintain unbeatable energy and physical presence. Women like Jane Condon, who at 50, pursued her dream career of Stand Up Comedy, men like Joe Hale and Max Berry who in their “retirement” work harder as volunteers for non profits than they ever did in their money making careers. My grandmother, who at the age of… (well, I would be out of the family if I put her age in writing!!), swims in the ocean daily, plays golf (never riding on a cart), and then downhill skis all winter.
BRANDT: The natural environment of the island, including the awful storms that humble me with their fury. I find our land-water-sky-scapes absolutely awesome! I appreciate the way the sun refracts through our salty air and drops across the moors or sunrise on the south shore during a clean swell.
When you need to shift your mood, what techniques do you use?
GABRIELLE: Water. The ocean, a shower, a dip in a pool, the rain… There is very little that cannot be washed away with a long swim. Our kids are a constant reminder that nothing stays the same, and to always just take this moment. They can drive us crazy and yet they ground us and remind us that family is what it is all about.
BRANDT: Water is definitely a healing force in our lives; swimming, surfing and even sailing can be the greatest forms of turning inward and being calmed. When I can’t get to it, I find a still moment and practicing a basic meditation.
How do you keep healthy, in body, mind, and spirit?
BRANDT: We choose to stay healthy (mostly). We know when our choices are becoming lazy habits that leave us feeling less than great. Even in a high-stress period like this (opening Atlas), we eat fresh and local foods. We prefer talking with each other (kids included) than watching TV.
GABRIELLE: I swim every morning before I walk into Nantucket Bank and every night after I leave Atlas. When possible, I go to the beach with the boys, stay through sunset, before heading home and we curl into bed with books. Books are my other mind and spirit source and then my partnership with Brandt. We have hit bumpy roads and have come back to a place of renewed passion and respect.
On a busy day, what choices would you make for your health if you only had:
GABRIELLE: Jump in the Ocean – South Shore
BRANDT: Just stop and watch, listen and think. 10 minutes is too short to stress over getting somewhere.
GABRIELLE: Jump in the Ocean – take 10 min nap!
BRANDT: Definitely a jump in the ocean, plenty of time for that!
GABRIELLE: Eat lunch on the beach with Brandt and the boys, swim, frolic, get warm, cool off – rinse, repeat!
BRANDT: I wouldn’t know what to do with that time!
Do you have any “Go To” Health Tips (or tricks to keep yourself motivated???)?
Green Tea in the AM. I am terrible at skipping meals; I have to remind myself to eat – NOW.
Vitamin B (in liquid form).
Get in the water…
…And that glass of wine is a good thing!
Eat often. There is no meal that should be skipped.. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Leaving the day and all of its electronics on the kitchen counter.
What are some of your favorite things to do on Nantucket you make sure to do regularly?
GABRIELLE: September and October are our favorite months. We get to the beach as much as possible. On weekends we head to the ‘Sconset Market with the kids, grab coffee, OJ, and coffee cake and go to Claudette’s for egg sandwiches. Then we walk ‘Sconset and let the week melt away until we hit the beach for as long as the day will allow us!
What are some of your favorite Healthy Eating choices?
GABRIELLE: We live a “6-day-etarian” lifestyle and eat meat once a week.
These days though it is “family meal” with our staff! We know where our food is coming from: Brandt makes sure that the farms the meat comes from are using good practices, the fish is wild caught, not farm raised, and that our veggies are!
Breakfasts are important to us; the kids cook with us on weekends.
We believe in WHOLE FAT foods like triple cream cheeses, goat milk yogurt etc. Dessert is NOT a bad thing, actually processed foods and items with ingredients that we cannot pronounce out loud are the only BAD thing (in our book) out there.
Other than that, we believe in food around a table, made from scratch and moderation when it comes to decadence – go for it (but perhaps not daily)!
Check out Gabrielle’s Watermelon Gazpacho RECIPE. It’s easy and sweet and even the kids love it!
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