As a child growing up in Southern California in the ‘60s, I was exposed to responsibility at an early age. My mother’s parents were born in New Jersey and Kentucky. The Kentucky clan moved in the 1920s to the west and ultimately to Los Angeles. Both sides of her family are of Scottish and Irish descent that we have traced back to Betsy Ross who sewed and designed the American Flag. My Dad’s roots are thought to be traced to a Dutch heritage, but possible Algonquin Indian as well. My Dad enlisted in the Air Force in the early ‘40s. After the war he moved to Los Angeles to work for Lockheed and to meet my Mother. I was raised in Burbank, Los Angeles with my two other siblings.
At an early age, my mom became quite ill and almost died, so I had to grow up quickly. My brother, sister and I took over the household chores and yard care, with our father overseeing our tasks. I have some great memories of my mom and grandmother teaching me cooking and my father teaching me grilling techniques on the weekends. I gravitated toward cooking soon developed an artistic food passion.
I moved to Aspen in 1983, married Cheryl Schuss, and now we have three grown children. Food was my gateway into a career in service. When I became an Executive Chef, I began to develop my taste for wine, specializing in French wine (Futures) and some Italian wines. That grew into a position managing events and the conference center in Snowmass, Colorado. I know fine housekeeping and I am squeaky clean in my housekeeping practices, as well as in the kitchens where I work. I prefer to be hands-on as a style and especially in the care of a private home.
I live by these words: So as you think, you create your destiny. My Lutheran upbringing has heavily influenced the way I think and act to this day. There was not a time that my Father was not involved in some way with our church. When the church asked me to be an elder at a young age, I tell people it was only because I knew the doctrine so well.
I look at ethics as a way of life, and I try my best to live and work according to my ethics ingrained in me from childhood, including my committed work ethic. My favorite word is persistence, because persistence solves problems. I believe in respecting one another and being sensitive toward their beliefs without compromising yourself. Integrity is an important aspect, coupled with the gentle honesty that I taught to my children. It’s also important to admit mistakes quickly.
I find it most satisfying when I execute successful Service. My nature is nurturing and leadership-driven. If my staff does not succeed I look at how I trained them first to see where I might have communicated incorrectly. I have spent many years in staff management; my ultimate goal is to support my staff to succeed, because it then makes me successful.
- Trained in the patented Starkey Service Management Model
- Trained in hotel and restaurant management
- Skilled with leading teams of staff and vendors
- 30 years of experience in HR, including payroll, scheduling, hiring and training
- 30 years of experience managing employees, vendors and setting up contracts
- Excellent office organizational skills, including filing, budget management and more
- Knowledgeable with Word, Excel and Outlook
- Skilled with developing and maintaining employee manuals and benefits
- Creates household manuals using Starkey HQ software
- Skilled with managing purchasing, budgeting and monitoring quality control of food and wine for restaurants, catering companies and in the private home
- Certified by the American Chefs Federation
- Trained and certified in nutritional food preparation and cooking
- Trained under famed French chef Madeleine Kaman at Beringer Vineyards, learning classical cuisine and fine wines
- Trained under White House pastry chef Albert Kumin and learned baking, confection and breads
- Expert at food and wine pairing
- Capable of cooking many different styles: light, organic, classical, southwestern, Asian, Mediterranean, French, vegetarian, gluten free and lactose intolerant
- Familiar with composing menus and multi-course dining experiences for two to 5,000 guests
- Conducted personal catering for celebrities Seal and Heidi Klum, Felicity Huffman and Bill Macy
- Trained in the Starkey Household Service Management Model
- Experienced with caring for and cleaning fine art, china, crystal and silver
- Experienced with sanitation management in commercial and exhibition kitchens
- Develops detailed daily, weekly, monthly and yearly cleaning manuals and trains housekeeping staff in correct housekeeping practices
- Experienced in using organic and environmentally safe cleaning products
- Updated environmental health certification in 2008
- Capable of planning and executing casual events as well as formal, mirrored service events
- Organizes special events from planning stages to execution
- Experienced bartender and expert at pairing food and wine
- Experienced managing catering company and consulting on event etiquette
- Coordinates remote location events and high-end estate events, including wine tasting and charity events for affluent clientele
- Familiar with cellar and fine wine management: Bordeaux, Burgundy and Cult wines
- Executes themed parties, cocktail receptions, 14-course meals and comfort food events
- Experienced managing conference center and serving between 50 to 5,000 guests