Cast of Characters: Meet the Crew
This blog is a brief run-down of the people I will mention frequently. Obviously, there are many more managers and staff at RiRa, however these will be the people I reference the most.
General Manager - Our GM Scott hails from New England, a fact that is made apparent whenever he tells a story or has to remind a vendor who’s in charge. We often joke about what happens when “the Boston comes out” and wonder what it would look like if he were to ever go “full Boston." Scott is the papa bear and backbone of the Pub. He is tough but fair. He handles business and makes sure the Pub is ALWAYS operating at a high standard. He tells great stories and can often be found cracking jokes behind the bar. Scott is addicted to 4 things: iced coffee, Newport lights, sugar, and Captain Morgan. He loves all things sweet, and whenever I bake cookies for a party, I make sure to bake extra to satisfy his sweet tooth. Whenever I supply him with any of the above, he always asks me “Ok, what do you want?” I tell him nothing, but really I’m saving up brownie points for a rainy day (shhh!). Scott is fiercely protective of his staff and sees us all as a family. We all know that no matter the day, he always has our backs. Scott runs a tight ship, and we all know what is expected of us. If ever there is a time we fall below standards, he makes it very clear what it is that needs to be corrected. He is a great teacher and is in constant training mode. He looks for teachable moments in every situation and encourages us to pursue continuing education within our field. Scott is one of toughest yet best bosses I have ever had. He inspires loyalty, and I couldn’t imagine RiRa without him.
Catering Manager - If Scott is the papa bear of the Pub, then Jenn is most definitely the mom. Jenn has been with RiRa (and Scott) since the Vegas location first opened its doors 8 years ago. She started off as a server, worked her way up to training server, and is now in charge of all catering and event organization for the pub. Jenn and I became fast friends when I started, and I consider her one of my closest friends and confidants. Jenn can come off as a hard ass at times, but you always know where you stand with her. She is as straight forward as they come. I know that I can always count on Jenn to give me her honest opinion and count on her guidance both inside and outside of the Pub. I look to Jenn as an example of strength and leadership. She has a way of asserting herself in any situation, and her attention to detail goes above and beyond. Having Jenn on my side, I know I always have an advocate in my corner ready to go to bat for me.
Executive Chef - Chef James and I have a love hate relationship. We argue incessantly, are constantly wagering on which of us is right, and regularly pull others into our arguments to prove the other wrong. I drive Chef crazy with all of my wild creations, and he irritates me senseless by shooting them down (even if it is warranted). 90% of the aforementioned is all in good fun. The remaining 10 % of the time, I’m almost positive we’d kill each other if not for the witnesses. I’m quite certain I am simultaneously both the best and worst Sous Chef he has ever had. I’m sure if he could trade me in for a version with less attitude, he would do so with minimal hesitation. Some days we spend entire shifts laughing, talking about Marvel movies, and playing “would you rather," and other days, our interactions are limited to him giving direction and me responding with “yes Chef." Thankfully the days spent laughing outnumber the others. Despite this, we work well together and know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, attitudes, and mood swings like the backs of our own hands. If I miss something, I know Chef will catch it, and he knows he can count on me to pick up the slack in any situation. He brings me back to earth when I start coming up with crazy new menu additions and reminds me that no matter how good a dish is, it will always fail if it cannot be replicated flawlessly night after night. I push him to consider new ideas and techniques, and force him out of his comfort zone daily. We are the yin to the others yang. Chef has taught me that there is more to being a Chef than creating good food. You have to be a leader, a teacher, a mentor, a disciplinarian, a friend, a cheerleader, and a coach all at once. I continue to learn from him every day.
Assistant Manager - Kylie and I both started at RiRa within a week of each other. We learned how to lead together and helped each other to navigate all of the bumps in the road as newbie managers. Kylie is my ride or die. She has been there for me through all of life’s ups and downs over the last 3 years and has been my shoulder to cry on more times than I can count. As a manager Kylie has a no nonsense mentality. She is assertive and takes no bull. She holds every staff member to the same high standards and never lets them slack on work or make excuses. Everyone knows, when Kylie is on shift, you’re finishing all of your side work, your lottery will be checked, and if you do it wrong, you’re doing it again. She’s a little 5 foot 1 inch honey badger with the heart of an alpha dog and the stature of a yorkie. Her work ethic is beyond compare, and we all know she is Scott’s favorite. Despite her tough nature, everyone loves Kylie. She can always be counted on to be fair and there is never a question of her integrity. As a friend, there is no one else I’d rather spend a Friday night out with. Kylie lives life to the fullest and finds the fun in any situation. Whenever she tells me “we’re going out," I know it’s going to be a night to remember (even if we forget half of it!). When I think of my friendship with Kylie, I always think back to her first day in the pub. Scott walked her into the kitchen and introduced us by predicting “you two will be thick as thieves," and man was he right (I swear that man is a psychic!).
Honorable Mention - Josh started a couple of weeks after Kylie and I. Josh was a transplant from the RiRa Portsmouth location. He was sent to Las Vegas as part of a Chef in training program. He spent about a year and a half training in Vegas in preparation to take over the Portsmouth location as the Head Chef. Over the course of the year and a half, Josh, Kylie, and I became the three amigos. Josh often joked that we were an inverted triangle, with Kylie and I at the top, always bossing him around and barking orders at him from the top. We were constantly ganging up on him and teased him relentlessly. As we both worked in the kitchen, Josh and I became extremely close. We bonded over the tension and buzz of kitchen life. We argued like brother and sister, and were always trying to one-up each other (I always won). Josh is what you would expect of a typical New England jock. He is a loud, foul mouth beefcake and forever the jokester. Despite this, he is one of the sweetest, most sensitive, protective big brother types you will ever meet. I taught Josh how to bake (one of my greatest accomplishments is teaching him how to bake cookies without burning them), and he taught me how to be softer and not so brash. When Josh left, he, Kylie, and I got matching tattoos to commemorate a crazy first year and the amazing friendship we had fostered in that time. We still talk almost daily, and he is one of the first people I call when I need to run an idea by a peer, want to vent, or need kitchen counseling.