Sarah Simmons

Sarah Simmons

Chef Owner of CITY GRIT, Small Sugar, Il Focolare and Birds & Bubbles

I am reminded every night when guests hug me as they are leaving the restaurant, because we made their evening so special, that being a part of this industry is the most amazing gift I’ve ever been given.

I hope my employees are inspired by my work ethic, my dedication to them, my humility and my drive to improve. I hope I keep them motivated by leading by example and encouraging them to learn from their own experiences out of the restaurant.
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of leadership focused podcasts and watching food based and chef focused documentaries like Cooked and Chef’s Table. Seeing these world renowned chefs struggle with the same things that consume me makes me feel less alone.
I am always reading about businesses and leadership. At this stage of the game, what will separate me from others is not my food knowledge but my ability to hire and grow strong leaders.
I believe grace and compassion are the most important qualities in an employee. My favorite question to ask in an interview is “if you had $10,000 to donate to charity what would you do with it and why?”
“Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.” – Albert Camus. It’s ok to cry. Women are scared to cry because they think it makes them look weak. In actuality I’ve found it requires great strength to demonstrate vulnerability – even if it is alone in the walk-in.
I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to have some great jobs with unpleasant bosses. These past experiences motivate me to try as hard as I can to be a good leader and a compassionate and understanding boss.

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.

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