This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview was conducted with Tepper remotely on Zoom, while they were in their girlfriend’s apartment in Brooklyn. Tepper resides primarily in Hudson, but lately travels back and forth to New York City. Tepper explains the energy and spirit of Lil Deb’s Oasis, which is the sole reason that brought them to move to Hudson a bit over three years ago (upon the conduction of this interview). They express the difference between Lil Deb’s and other restaurants they had worked for, and the appeal of the caring community and autonomy that was fostered within the restaurant, by those in management positions as well as by their colleagues. Tepper goes on to explain their relationship to restaurant spaces, what attracted them to restaurant and kitchen work while attending Oberlin College followed by their move to New York City, as well as what draws them to restaurant spaces more conceptually, as a diner. Tepper speaks toward their interest in maintaining a sense of anonymity in larger cities as well as desiring connection which is something they’ve found fostered in the smaller community of Hudson. Tepper gives a few anecdotes that exemplify the working relationship of the original cast of folks working at Lil Deb's, including mention of Hannah Black, Carla Perez-Gallardo and Wheeler. Tepper explains what they began to do upon the closure of the restaurant during the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting restaurant shut downs, which began their venture into making food items such as bagels and pizza, which they found themselves desiring but couldn’t find in Hudson. This has led to their new process of approaching more independent food projects outside of Lil Deb's or other restaurant spaces. This interview would be of interest to those familiar with or curious about restaurant culture, the theatrics of dining and hospitality and food innovation, primarily in the state of New York. This interview also gives insight into the beginning dynamics fostered within the Hudson restaurant Lil Deb’s Oasis, and how the restaurant's founding outlook on traditional restaurant culture and hospitality fostered a new, growing community.
Harris Bauer is a writer, editor, and facilitator based in Los Angeles, California. She works in a multitude of spaces, across many mediums, with a specific focus on fragmented memory, narrative preservation, and the role nonlinearity plays within archival summaries and contextualizing agents as well as creative memory writing forms. She has worked alongside, chefs, farmers and artists to produce events and gatherings throughout the state of New York and California.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”