Let me take you back to the beginning of what is now a 15 year career in Hospitality. I needed a job, stat. I was hired at Outback Steakhouse in NYC, yes, Outback Steakhouse. At the same time my dear friend was hired at one of the most anticipated openings in NYC, Jean-Georges 66. When I spoke of my distaste for my training my friend mentioned they were still hiring at 66 and said I should apply. The concept was “Chinese”, and I wasn’t sure a tall blond would fit in. But I did, and the rest is history.
Jean-George has a big celebrity following. They appreciate his fabulous food and ability to create atmospheres where they can be comfortable. I will never forget my very first celebrity table, Carol Burnett and Joel Grey. She immediately put her hand out and introduced herself as Carol. What a great start, thank you Carol! And then there was my very first celebrity regular, Ms. Mariah Carey.
My manager came over and told me to get ready, “she”, was on her way over to my section. That was after the gentlemen prescreened the table and found it to his satisfaction. The gentlemen, who some would call bodyguards, were just that. They were kind, appreciative, and fun.
I feel a little guilty saying this now but I remember thinking I might be in for it. She had a reputation as you know. But guess what, I never saw it. Mariah Carey was sweet, funny, down-to-earth, and extremely generous. This was someone I could be friends with. And maybe she felt the same way as she came in often requesting the same table and me, or she just craved the Lobster as she always ordered it. And it was 2 blocks from her infamous pad, you know the one seen on MTV Cribs. One evening, she ran home in the rain with one of her friends.
I don’t have much else to say about my sweet new friend. Haha. I did have this one busboy who was working with me, well, at least until she got there this one particular evening. He was shaking and crying, so I immediately had him switched out for another who was not as fancentric as he was. I did ask Mariah if I could introduce him to her and she was lovely and accommodating and he just cried more.
It’s been quite some time, but I can still vividly remember her beautiful butterfly ring and the sweet sounds of her voice a humming. It was music to my ears. Until we meet again, Ms. Carey.