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Kelsey Shaw is the Director of Service and Education at Café Altro Paradiso in New York City.

Shaw wearing our Women's Jumpsuit in hunter green.


Can you give me a brief rundown of your "average" work day? (I know you probably don't have a normal work day, but as best as you can!)

Typically, my day starts in the early afternoon. It's summer now so I'll bike in and immediately head to the wine walk-in, where I cool down from my ride and scope out any new bottles. I used to spend a large part of my day in wine cellars, so it's nice to get back to roots there. After greeting the team I jump right in to lunch service and as a manager that means a little of everything: make coffees, run food, catch up with regulars, and aid in running a smooth service. Between services I try to sneak in tastings of anything I've seen pop up. I will then work on dinner menus for that night; our menu changes every day based on what is at the Green Market or what Chef is excited about.

Family meal is next; our kitchen makes a damn good one. After our dinner we sit for line-up to review current events, service points, guests of the night, and taste any new menu additions. Line-up sets the stage at Altro-like it does at our sister restaurants Estela and Flora Bar-bringing Front of House and Back of House together to focus on the service ahead. Then we start dinner service. The rest of the night is a hustle of checking in with everyone, everywhere to make sure things are happening how and when they should and ensuring every element connects. Once we say goodnight to our last guests, it’s about rallying the team late night to get the space in shape for the morning crew. I'll rock some new Pusha T or my girl Sza (can't get enough of her Ctrl album) until we start again tomorrow!

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is a cocktail of utilitarian pieces + my grandmother's closet + a splash of current styles. I wear sneakers with almost everything due to a foot injury but it has allowed me to keep my style casual and cool. I am also super into suits right now! I love dressing up and then rocking Air Force Ones, it's this perfect juxtaposition that translates to me, too - I get sh*& done but I'm also down to chill.

How does your work play into that?

It's funny, this job requires a certain level of polish while at the same time you have to get your hands dirty, so functionality is key. The hours are long. I do not have time to figure out outfits. I need to throw on a jumpsuit or a dress and run. Working in an Italian restaurant, oil is not your friend when it comes to clothes either. I've learned my lesson the hard way, so the unfussy, not too fancy items are essential.

One word you'd use to describe why you do what you do? You're more than welcome to explain why you chose the world, or just let it ride!

People. This is an obvious one for me - I do this because I love working side by side with the insanely hard working and talented people on our team - people that I am constantly learning from and inspired by, every single day. Then there are the people we support - the farmers, the vignerons, the distillers, those of whom we get to showcase their life's work day in and day out. The other key 'people' are our guests. I love getting to know them and taking care of them by creating welcoming experiences and simply having a good time.

Written by Alex McCrery — June 20, 2018

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