The Odeon. Balthazar. Per Se. Le Cirque. When it comes to life behind the scenes at New York City’s highest temples of gastronomy, Kate Edwards has seen and done it all. Today, she’s sharing nearly 30 years of restaurant experience—from waitressing to consulting—with Culinary Management students at ICE.
Before Kate was recruited by Manhattan’s hottest restaurateurs for her impeccable sense of service and savvy staff training strategy, she was simply a college graduate seeking to start a career in music and theatre. “In theater, you study a little bit of everything,” Kate explains, “which planted the seed of being a multitasker and defined the way my mind works.”
Her first job in the city was waitressing at The Odeon—the see-and-be-seen brasserie of 1980s New York—which opened her eyes to other possibilities in the industry and helped her land a job as hostess at Brian McNally’s Royalton Hotel. After a few months serving such regulars as Anna Wintour and Madonna, Kate had learned the ins and outs of how to seat a room, plan a menu and manage the wishes of high profile guests. Soon enough, she was promoted to maitre d’—a mark on her resume that thenceforth served as a professional passport to roles at all the city’s best restaurants.