Estate Manager/Personal Chef
Available for short-terms Private Chef positions anywhere
I was born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in a Jewish family, having gone to religious school from second grade until my confirmation at the age of 14. We were not religious, but I believe my parents gave me religious education so that I might make my own choice about continuing with it through my life. Even though I am no longer religious, all of my ancestors were Jewish and my knowledge of Jewish dietary laws, coupled with my cooking skills, has made me an extremely adept Jewish cook, including Kosher diets and maintaining a Kosher kitchen.
All of the men in my family were working class, from my barber and dairy farmer grandfathers to my own father, a Vice President in industrial real estate and machinery sales.
They all had a very diligent work ethic and instilled this same value in me from a very young age. The women in my family (grandmothers and mother) were all housewives who raised their children. I was motivated to work outside of the home and follow the example of the men in my family.
I grew up in the suburban town of Maplewood, New Jersey just an hour from New York City. I learned at the early age of eight how to fend for myself: cooking for my older brother, sister, and myself, doing my own laundry and inspiring myself to be a good student. I think all three of us learned to nurture one another because our parents were divorced and extremely busy outside the home. We eventually got a dog, and were happy to have such an appreciative member of the family who offered only love and acceptance. That was the beginning of my absolute love of dogs and the responsibility that went with owning one. My mother eventually met a man whom she traveled with extensively, leaving the three of us in charge of the house. I believe that all of these experiences gave me the skills of housekeeping and organization, as well as the service heart from banding together with my siblings in order to help each other accomplish our goals and tasks. We all ended up in a family business together that confirmed that theory, a gourmet shop and catering operation that flourished for 23 years. We eventually sold the business in order to pursue other interests as individuals.
I picked up on my father’s work ethic early in life and always worked long, hard hours as an accomplished waitress at the age of 17 while still in high school. I worked my way through college to help pay for my tuition as well. My experience in restaurants and time spent with my mom’s long-term partner was what began my food education. Her partner was the first person I knew who I would classify as a “foodie,” and he exposed us to culinary experiences like Northern Italian fare, artisan cheeses and breads, rare beef and Asian cuisine. I developed a love for Italian and Asian cuisines, as well as authentic, regional Mexican food. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, I continued to develop my culinary abilities through short courses, one of which was taught by Diana Kennedy, the “queen” of gourmet Mexican cuisine.
While attending New York University, I studied Speech Pathology and Audiology, an area of study certainly in the category of service, as I wanted to teach the deaf. However, I was getting restless with school and one visit to the Culinary Institute gave me the spark I never felt before. This inspired me to give my all to my education there and I ultimately achieved the Francis L. Roth award for Most Outstanding Student in my class of 72 classmates. My love of food and food prep presented that ah-ha moment for me, and I knew I was on the right track in attending the Culinary Institute.
After graduation from the C.I.A., I took off for Chicago and worked in a variety of positions in high-end hotels such as the Ritz Carlton and a Four Seasons hotel, before working at a famous Nouvelle Cuisine restaurant in town. In all these positions, I managed teams of people, including scheduling, training, hiring and terminating. I was also responsible for departmental ordering, menu creation and working in conjunction with other departments and individuals to execute at a very high level. I came back east at my mother’s request and got interested in the gourmet shop/catering business which was a new concept at the time. I have chosen to stay on the East Coast for the time being in order to support my aging mother.
In the last 10 years, I have turned my career toward overall household management. I pride myself on being calm in stressful situations, and I don’t believe that yelling and screaming is a positive work environment. I became a teacher while running my business, having to be responsible for every item that was sold and wanting to make sure that everything was consistent and up to my standards. I learned basic Spanish in order to communicate with some of my best workers of various Latin descents. I also had to work with support vendors to handle maintenance needs and repairs. By nature, I am very detail-oriented and believe in working until the job is done. One of the greatest lessons I learned while owning and operating my own business is that there is no job too great or too small to warrant my attention when it comes to my reputation and the reputations of those I represent.
The values I hold near and dear are honesty, happiness, loyalty, humor, respect, support, appreciation and self-esteem. I want to make a difference in a family’s life. I like the immediate gratification of seeing how my efforts better others and their quality of life. To me, service is not something you see or touch. It’s something you feel.
My top Service Standards are Administrative, Housekeeping, Entertaining and Culinary.
- Capable of managing budgets of more than $1 million and delivering services within or under budget
- Trained in the Starkey Household Management system and capable of creating Zones, Task Sheets and Day in the Life schedules for a household
- Oversaw multiple kitchen renovation projects focused on increasing efficiency and flow of staff, food preparation and cleanup
- Expert at training, supervising and managing a staff of up to 15 people
- Excellent communicator and collaborator with Principals and other household staff; manages all correspondence with Principals
- Keeps track of collectibles and inventory
- Skilled with managing multiple vendors, contracts and resources, including overseeing household schedules
- Experienced at managing multiple properties at once
- Knowledgeable at purchasing luxury items with an eye for decor
- Trained in Starkey’s housekeeping standards and creating Housekeeping Management Systems
- Hands-on housekeeper for personal short-term rental property, upholding the highest standards of cleanliness
- Capable of creating Zones, Task Sheets and schedules for a home
- Implements Daily Graces
- Take special care of items such as bed linens; comfortable making beds and changing bed linens
- Implements cleaning manuals with appropriate products
- Capable of creating floral arrangements
- Planned and coordinated approximately 2,400 events over 30 years, from small family gatherings to events with 500 attendees
- Executes events from start to finish using formal table settings and serving styles
- Designs menus to incorporate the Principal’s theme or vision
- Provides service at the table in Russian, English, American Plated, and French styles
- Chooses flowers arrangements and creates a desired ambiance
- Manages event correspondence, including invitations and RSVPs
- 40 years of experience as a private chef, restaurant/gourmet shop owner and catering manager
- Experienced with managing staff of up to 15 people in the kitchen and at events
- Highly skilled at designing menus, in addition to preparing and serving many different ethnic cuisines
- Manages detailed culinary budget; communicates regularly with Principals regarding smart shopping and food costs
- Skilled with management of kitchen and wine cellar inventory, shopping and proper food
- Comfortable creating simple meals with everyday items
- Experienced shopper for specialty and everyday foods, as well as sourcing local and organic options
- Capable of catering and coordinating events including menu development, décor and ambiance
- Comfortable with renovating and setting up a workable flow within a kitchen; ServSafe certified
- Diligent with cleaning and sanitizing kitchens and food prep areas; masterful at keeping food waste to a minimum
- Knowledgeable of pairing food and wine or other alcoholic drinks
- Familiar with kosher, vegan, vegetarian, diabetic and low-carb diet