Look For The Helpers: Kisira Hill & David Mor of SPILL and Anthropological
The hospitality industry can often be a space for creatives to generate income while pursuing their passions, so it should come as no surprise that these hospitalians-slash-creatives will often find ways to incorporate elements of their art. People in this industry are rarely just one thing. Those who work in restaurants and bars can find it difficult to build a platform to showcase these side talents and hustles or even have their voices heard if they don’t happen to already be a big name in the game. Enter David Mor and Kisira Hill, the delicious duo behind SPILL and Anthropological.
“Platforms, like ours, that host authentic conversations of accountability, inspiration, transparency, and humanity are just a small piece of making this radical change on our own.”
In the last year, David and Kisira (or “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” as they refer to themselves) built SPILL, a multimedia platform that in their words, “showcases content, photography, recipes, articles, essays, etc. made by and for hospitality professionals.” David continues, “SPILL is a multimedia host of hospitality discussions. The main purpose is to amplify voices that we have not heard as much from in this industry. We felt it was important to create a site that felt different from other food and beverage media or publications.”
“Our industry, not unlike many corporate industries, is ripe with inequity, labor exploitation, and gatekeeping. The working force of our industry, the professionals across all positions both inside and outside of the bar or restaurant, have been calling for radical change, and plenty of hospitality industry leaders and owners have made it clear they are uninterested in making these changes happen. Platforms, like ours, that host authentic conversations of accountability, inspiration, transparency, and humanity are just a small piece of making this radical change on our own.”
Kisira and David promote these conversations while “learning out loud” with a myriad of guests on Anthropological. This podcast draws on Kisira’s background in anthropology and evolutionary theory, as well as her time in the industry. “As a product of both my investment in the hospitality industry and hosting, speaking at or producing events (Chicago Style (2018-2019), Resistance Served (2019-2020), Patron Sustainability Summit (2019), and Ice Queens Social (2018)), I have developed a passion for innovative and radical content. While the food, beverage, and hospitality industries have looked to change their operations due to the pandemic, I have made a pivot to aid my industry in becoming more radical, more outspoken, equitable, and intersectional by partnering with other organizers.” She continues, “In an industry so centered on human connection, yet one that continues to marginalize certain human experiences, now more than ever, it is crucial we make space for creators, collaborators, and innovators in food, beverage, and hospitality.”
David adds, “So much of our lives are stifled by consumerism and capitalism. Creativity and getting invested in projects that foster a creative outlet, we believe, is so crucial for our mental and physical health. Evolutionarily speaking, creativity is what got us to where we are as a society today! If more of us had the privilege to spend more time on our creative projects, we would only benefit. And we specifically say privilege here because individual, creative, and well-funded projects are a privilege too rarely made available to low-income or hustling folks out there.”
On Anthropological, David and Kisira host discussions on topics that run the gamut from tipping to indulgence to food language, chatting with guests like Iain Griffiths, Korsha Wilson, Jenny Dorsey, Ashtin Berry, and Jim Meehan. According to David, on the whole, our industry needs more “ACCOUNTABILITY—genuine, non-performative accountability—for the business we support to treat their workers with grace and humanity, for those same workers to be supported in their own ventures and receive mentorship, for folks to paid for their unique creativity and for restaurant owners to use their actual brain and come up with business models that are equitable for their staff.”
“In an industry so centered on human connection, yet one that continues to marginalize certain human experiences, now more than ever, it is crucial we make space for creators, collaborators, and innovators in food, beverage, and hospitality.”
Speaking of hustling, SPILL will soon host a “side hustle database” on the site as “a celebration of the amazing work being done by individuals in our industry taking ownership of their craft(s) and labor.” You can post your side hustle on the database or find the perfect person to hire for an upcoming project. David and Kisira understand the importance of the side hustle. Kisira is currently a graphic designer, illustrator, and social media manager for a contracted client in Seattle, and a “community member of an amazing non-profit, Support Staff, that focuses on mental health and support for hospitality industry folks.” While David is the Beverage Director at Robert et Fils in Chicago, he also launched his consulting agency during the pandemic called Mor Hospitality. He has two brand new projects launching this year: LONO, a new beverage brand of which he is the co-founder, and Happy Beverage Ingredient Co., a small batch syrup company that he co-owns with his partner Matt.
The duo is also compiling the 2nd issue of their subscription ‘zine: Guest Check. For the first issue, they “encouraged hospitality folks from around the country [and even world] to pitch ideas, pieces, ways in which they would be interested in contributing, and were able to put together a 30-page amalgamation of hospitality-driven content.” Looking back at the process, David says, “Biggest surprise for me was how excited folks were to have their work published. I honestly took for granted the power of having someone say, ‘I hear you. I thank you for your writing. I want more to see it.’ It was humbling and a big push to want to keep this momentum going.”
Want to contribute to the next issue of Guest Check or sign up to get it in your inbox? Have a side hustle to promote, or looking for that perfect creative to hire? https://www.readspill.com