A leader in Boston's food and beverage industry for many years, the crew at Eastern Standard has a little secret. Working for this establishment isn't just another job — it's a profession, an art and a way of life. In this sense, staff members are brought into the ES family and from day one, they are encouraged to constantly push the boundaries of their knowledge and skills through educational programs and activities set up by Manager Deena Marlette.
This Saturday, February 8th, the crew at Eastern Standard has decided to open up and share their knowledge with its extended family.
A day of seminars and events has been put together by Marlette and a collection of stellar instructors and industry vets. Whether you are interested in sherry, wine, vermouth, or something more edible like raw food or cheese, there is something to be learned at ES - and this goes for industry vets and newbies alike!
Below, Marlette answers some questions on Eastern Standard restaurant, the event and Boston's restaurant community in general.
The Daily Meal: ES has been a leader in both the food and beverage industry in Boston. Will the “Standard” Education event give insight into some of what has made ES so special to the food scene in Boston?
Deena Marlette: Yes, we definitely plan to integrate elements of Eastern Standard’s food and drink programs into each of the classes so guests have a better understanding of the full ES experience. By giving folks an inside look at the educational activities we do here on a daily basis, they’ll gain insight into what goes on at ES behind the scenes each day. We put a major emphasis on staff education and encourage our team to take advantage of every learning opportunity so they’re well-rounded in all topics, both relevant to and outside of the food industry. We always want to engage with our guests on any subject area that interests them — whether it’s wine and oysters or politics and sports.
The event seems to have a wonderful range of different classes — what might be the difference be for an industry vet as opposed to a beginner in any given session?
The classes are geared toward both — industry veterans should leave with renewed insight on their area of expertise and encouraged to explore new areas of that subject, while a beginner may discover an unknown interest and leave inspired to learn more and incorporate that knowledge into future dining experiences. The classes are hands-on, informative and appropriate for people of all levels.
Will sessions have a hands-on approach? Or will it be more in a lecture demonstration style?
Each class will include both interactive and demo/lecture elements. While "teachers" will be providing the information, the whole idea is to taste. Taste sherry, taste vermouth, taste crudo, etc.
Do you hold similar seminars for your own employees and if so, would you say that's an integral part of the success of ES?
We’re all about continued education at ES, both among our staff and connecting with guests about any topic — food, drink and beyond. Each day we spend 30 minutes in the afternoon and 40 minutes in the evening with our staff during pre-service briefings that are as collaborative and engaging as possible. We definitely modeled these seminars after our own experience in doing so — we wanted the lectures to feel natural and close to what we do here on a daily basis to give guests a deeper understanding of our various food and beverage programs in a fun and interactive setting. It’s a great chance to learn with and from each other and give guests a taste of life as a member of the ES team.
Boston chefs seems to really embrace the educational aspect of restaurants, food and drinks. Is the “Standard” Education event to be a regular occurrence? Something to build on in the future perhaps?
We hope so! We would love to have this be an annual/bi-annual event that we do and that the theme can change each time.
The event runs from 11 am - 5:20 pm on Saturday February 8th. Seminars are 50 minutes and $40 dollars each — purchase a package for the whole day at $200.