From feeding a “very small, dedicated clientele,” Kickshaw soon shifted gears, landing a commercial space that same year. For two career renegades with neither a culinary degree or restaurant stint between them, moving up to a food incubator meant no turning back. Pilar often began breakfast prep at 4:30 a.m., wrestling 200 pounds of food into tasty submission, then spent the next 15 hours on her feet. She was exhausted, sure, but raring for more.

With some lofty food magazines circling around her to collaborate, there’s no doubt Pilar’s palate has taken her places. Still, there are days when all she can taste are the insecurities of a self-taught chef who’s winging it on television.