Destined to Serve

I often say that I was built for this business. When I was 11 years old, I spent my paper route money on pens and order pads, and I’d make my little sister play “restaurant” with me. I would set the table, take her order, hang the order up in the kitchen, cook it, serve it, do the dishes, and beg her to let me do it again. I was fascinated with the idea of being a waitress, wondering how in the world servers could memorize all those table numbers! It seemed like such fun.

Like many of our current employees, I waited tables to pay for college. After graduating, I took a “real job” at a non-profit organization in the education department. I come from a family of educators so being of service is in my blood. My company transferred me to Dallas where I took a second job as a hostess to meet people. One night I asked myself a life-changing question, what would I do if I didn’t care what people thought? The answer struck me immediately; I’d work at the restaurant full-time. I spent the next day figuring out how little money I could survive on, with the plan to ask my boss for a full-time gig. Before I had a chance to talk to him, he took me aside and offered me the Maitre d’ job! I haven’t looked back since.

Within 10 years, I was a food and beverage director over three hotel properties in Los Angeles, simultaneously running banquets, room service, pool service, a couple restaurants, and a few bars. (And I’m married with a baby.) Working in LA automatically sets you up for telling the funniest stories about your job. There was a party where an A-list celebrity was doing cocaine in the service elevator and asking me where she could get more. And the time Sean Penn couldn’t get into his own party (I didn’t recognize him). One Saturday night I ran the floor while my sommelier, bar manager and banquet manager were up in the wine room getting plastered, leaving me to deal with the owner of the company, Dustin Hoffman’s wife’s birthday dinner, and my security team telling Colin Farrell he was underdressed and would not be admitted. I’ve had my share of interesting employee situations too. Like firing a bartender for spraying a guest with the soda gun for leaving a one-cent tip on a $300 bill, and a bus-person I found sleeping in the restroom. Once, I had this super personable Maitre d’ who I found was accepting bribes from servers to get better guests at their tables. And if I had a penny for every time I’ve had to ask a couple to “tone it down,” I’d be writing this from Bora Bora. The stories are endless.

I know that every job I’ve ever had in my life was to prepare me to work here at George’s at the Cove.

The opportunity to work with such a brilliant chef/owner as Trey and such a dynamic restaurateur as George is breathtaking. The camaraderie of the staff and management team impresses me and brings me joy, every day. Now I know some folks think I am a lunatic, for who would want to deal with up to 1,100 guests every day who all want a window table, all expect to be blown away by the food and service, and all deserve an exceptional experience (not to mention the 200 staff members it takes to make this happen)? It’s me. Actually, I get excited just thinking about running the shift tonight!

It seems a daunting task to attempt to improve anything at George’s, as our comment cards overwhelmingly gush about the service, food and views of the Pacific. Nevertheless, that is my quest. I want you to think of George’s as your place, where you feel comfortable and at home. I’d like to inspire you to discover something new – like an albarino instead of a sauvignon blanc – and fall in love with it. I’d love you to know our servers by name, and feel so taken care of that you ask for them when you come back. I know we’ll continue to impress you with our food, service and views, but hope you also get a feeling that stays with you long after you’ve left the restaurant.

I’m lucky that I absolutely love what I do. Caring for people, serving someone for the first time or the same time every week, introducing people to new ingredients or an interesting wine, mentoring people, developing managers into becoming better leaders…yes, I was built for this. And I get to conduct this business with a perfect view of the La Jolla Cove. Really, it doesn’t get better than this.

So next time you’re here, please introduce yourself to me. I’d love to hear about your George’s stories. It will take me a while to meet all of you, and I look forward to it.