Thursday, January 15, 2009
Now that the word is out, the big question is "Are you staying at the Brooks?". The answer is definitely YES. As many of you know, I assumed the foodservice operations at The Memphis Brooks Museum of Arts in late 2006. My intention was to operate both Wally Joe Restaurant and The Brushmark, but sadly, circumstances prevented that and I left my eponymous restaurant shortly afterwards. I have been the Executive Chef at the museum for the past two years and I have to say that it has been a great experience. I hope and I believe that it has been a mutually beneficial relationship between the two of us. I cannot say enough good things about everyone at the museum. From the day I started there, I've never felt so welcome. Let me give a few shout outs beginning with the folks in Development. Diane Jalfon is the current Director of Development. She was the PR Director when I first came on board. Diane and her staff does a tremendous job with building relationships with the community to raise awareness about the needs of the museum. The marketing department with Claudia Towell, Heather Klein, and current PR director Elizabeth Callihan does an amazing job of promoting the many events at the museum and restaurant. Rick Bartemus is the glue that keeps the engine running. Maybe because I work with her so closely on a daily basis, I reserve the highest praise for Stacy Wright, the Director of Catering and Special Events. She is so incredible with her vision and passion. She never ceases to amaze me with her special touch at all the special events such as Avant Garde, Patron's Dinner, and Moss Society Dinner. I've witnessed first hand her patience and boundless energy with weddings, corporate dinners, and other events. Without a doubt, if it was not for Stacy, there would not be so many satisfied brides, guests, customers, and on and on. I've not worked so much with the other departments in the museum, but I know they are very dedicated at what they do. I would be totally remiss if if didn't mention my staff in The Brushmark led by Ashley Phipps. These guys work daily to make happy guests. Why would I want to leave all these great people? I hope to remain there as long as they want me.