Even though she employs some of the most talented baristas in the city, she’s probably not drinking coffee. It’s probably herbal tea in her cup.

An avid gardner, she most likely grew the blend herself. Kentucky Colonel mint makes the best mint tea, she shared peeking over a ceramic mug at Woodberry Kitchen last week.

“And the best mojito,” she grinned. (Full disclosure, she enjoys the mocktail variety.)

coffee with amy gjerde, woodberry kitchen

The soft-spoken Roland Park mom of two is the quiet powerhouse behind several of Charm City’s culinary treasures. Many associate Woodberry Kitchen with Amy Gjerde’s husband, Spike. But to overlook her role in catapulting the restaurant to it’s James Beard success would be short-sighted. The pair opened Woodberry Kitchen as a team in 2007 — Spike in the kitchen and Amy running the front of the house. All with two young kids at home.

The service you love at Woodberry? You have Amy to thank for setting the tone. And her artistic eye is evident in the space’s rustic interior design.

As their restaurant group rapidly expanded — adding Artifact Coffee, Parts & Labor, and Shoo-fly Diner (which has since closed) to it’s culinary empire — Amy found herself wanting to spend less time in the ‘every day’ thick of it and more time with her children. She now consults from an executive level, oversees the financials, and tends to all of the gardens at each establishment.

… which leaves time for all of the sports practices and after school activities that come with parenting two teenagers.

coffee with amy gjerde - (cool) progeny

“I love the gardening,” said Amy. “The work, the sweat, the dirt. Everything.” Her newest project is an urban garden in the public space at Union Mill. (We can’t wait to see what she comes up with! You can follow the garden’s progress on Instagram at @the_hollowgarden.)

As you might expect, the same locally-minded and agri-conscious philosophies that have become synonymous with the restaurant group will govern the garden’s creation. Right now, she’s waiting on the soil to be assessed, an organic mixture to be composed, and raised beds to be constructed. The late frosts aren’t boding well for this year’s crop, but she’s hopeful for a productive growing season.

Amy’s love affair with culinary arts started way before her Woodberry days. As a young model in Paris, Amy often found herself wandering the city and examining the food. When she returned to the states, she knew she wanted to be a chef. So she enrolled in culinary school in Baltimore.

“I used to devour the Baltimore Magazine restaurant blurbs,” said Amy. “And the blurbs about Spike & Charlie’s were always my favorite.”

An entry-level pastry chef job opened up at Jr., Spike’s former bistro in Bolton Hill. She got it. She loved it. Everything from the 4 AM arrival times to the crazy hectic brunches to baking until late in the afternoon. The rest, as they say, is history.

She may not be the pastry chef anymore, but Amy still loves baking — even after she was diagnosed with Celiac disease. She’s passed that love onto her daughter. “I just wish she’d use the same recipe each time!” said Amy, grinning while shaking her head. “She thinks she can just look up everything online and it will always taste the same.”

{Wait, you can’t just look up recipes online each time and have them all turn out the same? Whoops… }

Perhaps the most telling thing about Amy is what her friend wrote on Instagram after Amy shared a sneak peek of her photoshoot with us…

“So proud of you – not just because of your obvious external beauty…but because your heart is gorgeous, too. Look forward to seeing your journey!”

We’re looking forward to seeing her journey, too.

love amy’s look?

Check out more photos in our (cool) mom style spring edition!

Find the BCBG strapless dress and statement necklace at JG Sassy in Ruxton!
Make-up by Kristen Floyd, Tranquille Hair & Body
Hair by Jessica Moog, La Clinica Salon & Day Spa
Shoes by Manolo Blahnik, her own

Should we have coffee? Coffee with is a series on (cool) progeny that highlights moms in Baltimore doing (cool) things. Know a mom we should have coffee with? Email Heather at heather AT coolprogeny.com.