Jean Tomaro

Jean Tomaro

Co-Founder & Beverage Specialist at Hogsalt

I try to be truly present and aware in each moment. That moment might be chatting with a guest, brainstorming with a teammate, trouble-shooting a P&L, making breakfast for my children or having a glass of wine with my husband. Making the most of each moment allows me to accomplish so much during each day – and enjoy it.

Two things I can’t live without in order to do my job: (1) A great team. (2) A good night's sleep.
I love my Master Class subscription. So many of these classes are deeply inspirational, fun and educational. I would highly recommend it to anyone - and it's a great gift!
When it comes to self-care, I take the time to make an exceptional cocktail at the end of the day and share it with my husband. I love the ritual, I love the tools, I love the high-end spirits. I love marking the end of the day with that moment of enjoyment and relaxation. I also love adding to the home bar and collecting vintage glassware.
I rely heavily on Gmail, Toast, Resy, R365 and Instagram, when it comes to tech for day-to-day operations.
As a leader in the restaurant industry during COVID – we were making a lot of proverbial “lemonade”, every single day. One of my favorite pivots was being able to sell bottled and to-go cocktails during the pandemic. Working on that project and getting production up and running was definitely an unexpected silver lining and a great example of building something positive from a negative situation.
I am so proud to be a woman, a wife, and a mom working in an industry that doesn't always cater to a family oriented life-style. I hope that I can set an example and show other women that this can be accomplished – that there is space here for you.
Being empathetic. Being joyful. Don't sweat the small stuff. Listen 90% of the time, talk 10% of the time. These are all ways I try to provide an inclusive and caring environment for my team.
I could not have accomplished any restaurant opening, ever, without my team. The first night of service is always such a satisfying, exciting, amazing display of teamwork.
Although oftentimes written with ulterior motives and a lack of cultural awareness – I do find food reviews endlessly entertaining.
I consider any wine book or column by Jay McInerney essential reading. I've also always loved "Setting the table" by Danny Meyer.
Lessons I’ve learned throughout my career: (1) Bring people up. (2) The team is the most important part. (3) Think before you speak. Think for a really long time. (4) Wait at least 24 hours before sending an angry email. The internet is forever. (5) Quality is always worth the pursuit.
Tasting new products, talking to other industry professionals, talking to guests, exploring other restaurants and constantly traveling, all play a part in continuing my education.
I find inspiration in people, in humor, in the beauty of consistency, in the elegance of efficiency. I find inspiration in excellence.
Being around the talented, driven, hilarious, joyful people who I work with and getting to meet and take care of the wonderful guests who come to our restaurants everyday, inspire me to continue to work and excel in this industry.
We constantly offer educational beverage classes at Hogsalt and we will pay for 50% of a teammates exam if they want to invest in studying for a sommelier or cicerone course. Being involved, being inclusive and being hands-on play a big part in motivation and inspiration – for the whole team, myself included.
Important skills to possess for this industry include: flexibility, positivity, the ability to think quickly and problem solve. Also, a genuine enjoyment of people.
When hiring, I look for people who are joyful, curious, positive, flexible and hardworking. People that I want to spend time with.
Something that I see over and over again in the restaurant industry is that people are afraid to make the switch from an hourly teammate into leadership. They're so apprehensive about saying, "this is my industry, this is my career, this is where I belong," – I was never afraid. The more I gave, the more time I put in, the more I got back. The more I invested, professionally and personally, the more I felt rewarded. If you're working in a restaurant and thinking about leadership, give it a try. But dive deep – don't just put your toe in.
The first time I ever tasted appropriately aged DRC (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) and the first time someone ever specifically recruited me for their team – were both moments that made me pivot into the restaurant world as a career.
I knew this profession was right for me when I was 25 – and constantly reading wine magazines instead of working at my day job.

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

Send Us Your Nominations

If you know of any extraordinary food, beverage and hospitality professionals who inspire others through their hard work and leadership, nominate them now!


Search industry jobs here

Get Inspired by Industry Leaders

Explore their unique career timelines and advice about what they’ve learned along the way

Pastry & Baking
Wine & Beverage
Office & Admin
Career Changer
International Experience
James Beard Award