The director of catering at the Waldorf Astoria takes us through a day at work.
The Waldorf Astoria Chicago is going through one of its busiest seasons, full of social/corporate events and weddings. Ensuring events are executed to the highest standards is Director of Catering Leonardo N. Lorenzo, a native of Argentina who joined the Waldorf in November 2012. He first came to the U.S. at age 20 on a student visa to a little town in Ohio. “It was shocking,” he says. “I was very young and didn’t speak the language. I had to learn how to drive and speak proper English.” Ten years later, he’s made a name for himself in the American hotel industry – a dream come true. Here, Mr. Lorenzo breaks down his usual routine…
6AM My alarm goes off at this time every morning and I head straight to the gym. When I come back I make breakfast – an egg white omelet every day–then shower and shave. I also watch a little Good Morning America before work.
8:30AM-11AM I meet with my team to see what they’re working on that day. Then I usually have a meeting with my kitchen team to discuss the meals for the day’s functions. By 11am I head upstairs to my event space to check on the events team.
1PM I have a food tasting appointment for an upcoming wedding. July is particularly strong in Chicago for social events. It’s a great month for weddings – people love getting married in the summer. At this meeting, the clients will make their menu selections. We love customizing the menu. We’re not just providing a menu so they may choose dishes – it’s all about learning their preferences for us to create something that matches their vision. I also try and squeeze in 15 minutes for lunch.
3PM I’ll meet with the entire operational team to discuss tomorrow’s event.
3:30PM I have a conference call with the vice president of events for the company. All of our hotels are in the conference call to share success stories within the company. We connect with hotels around the country just to talk about how we can be better and what has worked at other hotels. Our company spends a lot of time enhancing contracts and the way that we operate so we can be more successful at each hotel.
4PM I have an appointment with a client who’s looking to see our event space followed by another appointment with a different client.
6PM Tonight I have an industry event for wedding planners. But on the rare occasion no events are scheduled I’ll go home and cook. Cooking is very relaxing to me.
9PM I go home [laughs], where I usually make a protein shake and unwind a little bit in front of the TV to watch my favorite show, Scandal.
10:30PM I’m asleep. Zzzzzz.
By Angelica Sanchez // Ashton Ray Hansen Photograph