FCSI Associate Ashley Rosenfeld is principal of A' La Carte in Houston, Texas. She tells Michael Jones about her life in – and love for – foodservice
For more than 24 years A’ La Carte has been helping operators and chefs create winning concepts, operate more profitably, and grow successfully. We work in the US and internationally, assisting operators of restaurants, bars, hotels, parks, convention centers, theaters, airports, and more.
Though I began my foodservice career in the back of the house and attended The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), I now specialize in concept development, operations structuring, and the financial aspects of our industry.
This industry is the only one I have worked in. I traveled with my family when I was young, and I remember loving the feeling of being pampered in boutique hotels and fine-dining restaurants. My family also cooked a lot. It always provided lots of laughs and an amazing meal. In what I do today, I love working with – and bonding with – our clients. I cherish those relationships.
In middle school I wanted to be a lawyer. Once in high school I changed my mind and wanted to be a pastry chef. I graduated high school early, started working in restaurants and took off to New York at 17 to attend the CIA.
When I was pursuing my bachelor’s at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, I applied for the dual master’s program to earn a Master of Science in Hospitality Management and Master of Business Administration. The director of the school asked if I’d be interested in interning with a foodservice consulting company, owned by Chris Tripoli FCSI. I interned with Chris for two years while I completed both master’s degrees. I then started with À La Carte as a full-time consultant when I graduated.
After working with Chris for nine years, I partnered with chef Omar Pereney to buy A’ La Carte in January 2019. Chris was an FCSI member for years, and Omar and I joined last year. We are keen to connect with consultants from around the world. I am also excited to attend my first Annual Conference later this year.
One of my key take-aways from my time in our industry is that successful restaurants are born from, and live through, their owners. The product, the service and the atmosphere have to be on-point, but at the heart of the restaurant has to be one or more people whose priority is that restaurant.
I have 19-month-old twins so the word “relaxing” is not in my vocabulary at the moment. My husband and I do make sure to keep up with all that is going on in the industry by visiting as many restaurants and cocktail bars as we can each time we are lucky enough to have a babysitter.