Executive Chef of Trump National Golf Club Westchester, Briarcliff Manor, NY
“As crazy as things can be around here, this is the best job I’ve ever had,” says Executive Chef Romeo Stivaletti. Crazy? Try planning the international menu for a small luncheon one day and then for 2,400 people on the Fourth of July the next.
Then there is the clientele, which at Trump National Westchester is as high-profile as it can be. “You never know who’s going to come through the front door,” Stivaletti says. “It might be a sports figure, an actor, an ex-president, and most importantly, the man whose name is on my paycheck—Mr. Trump. They’re here all the time.”
And they expect the absolute best. “Everything is always being looked at,” Stivaletti chuckles. “There are so many people making sure things are being done correctly here, you have to be on your toes all the time. Which is good because it pushes us to do the best we can. I tell my guys, ‘Even if you’ve made a thousand hamburgers, make this one the best you’ve ever made. It might be the first one this guest has ever had here, and it’s your only chance to make a good first impression.’ ”
The 45-year-old has been at Trump for six years and served as banquet chef before his promotion to executive chef last year. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in 1998, he worked in Manhattan for Restaurant Associates before coming to the golf club.
His head still spins when he considers his career path. “I worked as a butcher when I was 22. Who knew learning to cut meat when I was a kid would lead to this?”