Eric Weiss once told me "take care of those who are near, and those from far will come".
I grew up in Senegal, a country known as “DeukkouTerranga”, which means Land of hospitality. I was raised to always be hospitable and to share it with others. It’s become my personal mission statement. When I moved to NYC, my first job was in a restaurant, and on my very first day I fell in love with it. I knew immediately it was going to be my career.
In our industry, I believe the ability to connect with others is a skill you must have in order to grow and be successful.
When hiring, I am always drawn to the nurturing character in people. It’s the place where we find the deep values that connect people and strengthen a team. We can always train on techniques once people are a part of our team, but intuitive hospitality is a gift.
Working for Daniel Boulud has had a major impact on my career. Chef Daniel's creativity, presence and humbleness is something that does nothing less but inspire you. Beyond all, he really cares for the people who work for him. When you believe so much in hospitality like I do, working for Chef Daniel feels like coming home.
I have always been a very sensitive person. At a young age, I didn’t always know how to control or use my emotions to impact others in a positive way. I believe working in restaurants has helped me to develop that ability. I am constantly thinking about how we could've done something differently and how to keep people inspired.
Keeping my team inspired is one of my every day goals! We have a quote of the day to finish our meetings on a positive note. Understanding that my job as a manager is, first and foremost, to inspire my team. We are consistent with conducting weekly trainings, which is a huge part of our educational training. At pre shift, chef is present to go over menu items, and we share guest feedback with everyone. We also have weekly presentations by our captains who cover highlights from a specific restaurant that was reviewed in the New York Times; this helps keep us on our toes.
Keeping up with the New York Times is huge. It helps me understand what the trends are in the hospitality industry. It’s my go to reading material every day. Social media is also really big source these days.
I cannot do my job without the support of my family. My family is the reason that I do everything. They give me the strength to keep on keeping on, and that’s all that it comes down to! Love.