sidework: pronounced /ˈsʌɪd wərːk/, noun. restaurant jargon that refers to all the tasks and chores that are required to prepare a restaurant space for the public.

I started working in restaurants in 2005. My first hospitality gig was as the head reservationist at a restaurant that would soon be named the best in the world. Which was slightly terrifying for a girl who grew up in Oklahoma City and thought that Red Lobster was fine dining.

The hospitality bug bit me two courses in to my first tasting menu.

I loved the food, of course. But more than that, I loved the restaurant environment. The fluidity of service, the elegance of a dining room, the stories behind each dish, each drink, each bottle of wine. I loved seeing the produce and seafood come off a truck first thing in the morning, and offering the delivery driver a cup of coffee while the line cooks checked the invoices. I loved the look of pride on a farmer’s face when I showed him where the chef asked me to list his products on the menu.

And my teams.

I always loved my teams.

Over nearly fifteen years in hospitality, I learned how to cook, how to create and test a recipe, make a cocktail, set up a buffet, fold a napkin, and make it through a Thanksgiving rush without crying (much).

I left full-time restaurant work in late 2019 to commit more time to writing. My first book was released in 2015, and I’ve been working on more ideas since then. This blog is where I share the skills I learned with others, and where I share my love of food, service, and hospitality.

My restaurant and hospitality insights have been featured in the following publications: