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Photographed by Winona Barton-Ballentine
Mother Stories

Meet Butchers and New Mamas Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest

Written by Erin Feher

Photography by Photography by Winona Barton-Ballentine

Today’s mamas are truly emblematic of the subtle yet undeniable power of women to change the world for good. These days, when Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest tell their story, it can sound, on the surface, just like two new mothers making some big life changes to better suit their new roles as parents. The married couple and high-profile NYC butchers left the grueling restaurant world to have a baby, move to the country, and start J&E SmallGoods—a line of uncured hot dogs, bratwurst, and smoked kielbasa (all made from heritage pork and grass-fed beef, without preservatives). But get them talking, and you quickly realize that the difficult career decisions that they had to make were done with an eye towards a future where women and working families could be better supported in the culinary world, and where being a success and being a mom weren’t viewed as an impossible pairing.

At the time they decided to have a baby, Erika and Jocelyn were co-owners of White Gold, an Upper East Side butcher shop they owned with April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman. They left in 2018, after allegations of Friedman’s history of sexual harassment emerged. But it wasn’t just the toxic, male-dominated environment they wanted to leave—it was the culture of proving your worth by how much you sacrificed and how much abuse you could put up with. Today they reside in an old family-owned farmhouse in Westchester with their 18-month old daughter, Nina, and a couple of cats, working just as hard, but in a more sustainable way, to grow their new business and be the kind of working parents and employers they think the world needs more of. We recently spent a typically slow day with the two, walking the icy woods on their property, playing with sweet little Nina, and of course, cooking a fantastic meal. Click through for a full tour and to read our interview with these two amazing mamas.

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  1. Genesis says...

    Yes! I love this. Everything is so on point – from the hair, to the home to the love. Loved this interview/photoset and love seeing queer mamas on the site :)

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