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Q&A

Saru Jarayaman

What prompted the creation of ROC?
9/11, on September 11, there was a restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center, Tower 1. And there were 72 workers who died that morning in the restaurant. And about 250 workers who lost their jobs. And so we started the organization initially to support the workers who had lost their jobs. But we were soon overwhelmed with calls for help from workers. First from all over the city and then all over the country. And that's how ROC grew.

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Q&A Michael Leffler

How did you get into the industry?
I originally planned to go to law school after college, but decided to take a summer job working for my grandfather at Admiration Foods after graduation. My grandfather was very old school. He would never give you anything unless you earned it. It didn't matter that I was his grandchild, if I wanted to get paid I had to prove myself to him. I enrolled in a business law and an accounting class, and he started to include me as an integral member of his executive team.

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Q&A Richie Notar

Managing Director of Notar Hospitality, Richie Notar answers some questions and talks about his experiences in the foodservice industry.

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Marilou Halvorsen

So what attracted you to the opportunity at NJRA?
I had been a member actually through my previous employer with the restaurant association and had worked closely with Deborah Dowdell on a state tourism committee. So for 10 years we served on the New Jersey Travel Industry Association together.
I knew Deborah, I knew the organization. I'd been involved and attended some of the events. So, you know it was not new to me. I was very aware of the excellent reputation that it has in the state of New Jersey. It was unfortunately the sadness of Deborah's passing because she was the Restaurant Association. It's a wonderful opportunity. I'm excited to be here but at the same time, every day I walk in this office I do think of her.

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Q&A Mark Freeman

How did you get into the industry?
Like many of my colleagues, I started my career in front of a sink in the dish room. During high school, I was a “pearl diver” at a restaurant in my hometown of Olympia, Washington. The food bug bit me early. I stayed in the industry, in various positions, while in college and when I graduated I began feeding college kids with a company called SAGA.

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Q&A Olivier Cheng

How did you get involved in the industry?
I actually kind of fell into it. After completing my Architecture studies I then went on to get an MBA - the idea of a combination of creativity and business always interested me. During school I worked for a few caterers and then managed a 4 star resort and I really loved the service business. I then started up a catering company for Matthew Kenney, who was a star New York Chef. And that began Olivier Cheng Catering.

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Q&A Paul Grieco

What brought you into the industry?
I was born in the industry. My grandfather opened a restaurant in Toronto in 1961 called La Scala, same name as the opera house in Milan. My father joined him on the first day, and then I was literally born there in 1965.

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Q&A Maricel Presilla

So how did you get into the industry?
How did I get into the industry? Well, it was a chance meeting at a restaurant in Manhattan called The Ballroom It was owned by a very famous chef at the time. His name was Felipe Rojas-Lombardi. He had been an assistant of the great James Beard at his cooking school and was very well connected. He had opened the first tapas bar in the US with a cabaret where many great singers like Peggy Lee performed.

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Brad Hill

Recently, TFS sat down with Brad Hill of Evelyn Hill Inc. to talk about The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island operations and its remarkable sustainable energy track record.

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Q&A Bryan O’Rourke

Recently, TFS sat down with Bryan O’Rourke of Cardinal USA to talk about tabletop trends and what impact buying groups have had on the industry.

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