It’s no secret, Gourmet Galley is growing! From humble beginnings, we have expanded our business by 45% over the last two seasons – amazing! With that comes the need for new positions and wonderful people to fill them with. Meet Gena Golas! Gena was brought on board this April as our Personnel Director and will be working diligently to develop our Human Resources and Training Department. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have such a lovely young woman on our team.
Below, Gena shares some bits and pieces from her life and you just might fall in love with her. We sure did…
KR: So, I have to ask, what brought you to apply for such a new and BIG position within a southeastern CT catering company?
GG: I have both a business background and a pastry background. I’ve always known I wanted to work with and around food and my career path has taken me to some really interesting places. I’ve been a restaurant manager, a pastry chef, bakery manager for a Polish bakery (I’m craving their pierogi and golabki just thinking about them–they were so, so good), research and development chef for a bakery ingredients manufacturer (I got to develop products like gum paste, fondant and cake mixes), cake baker/decorator, and I developed the recreational cooking class program at Lincoln Culinary Institute. Being in an HR role for a catering company might not seem like the next logical step in my career, yet it’s the perfect combination of so many things I’ve done in the past.
KR: Mmm pierogi… You mentioned that you have both a business background and a pastry background?
GG: I have a Bachelors in business from UConn (go Huskies!), an MBA from Simmons College in Boston and a pastry and baking diploma from Connecticut Culinary Institute.
KR: You are one fierce lady! You’re hired! In all seriousness, I see you have a “little” something on your left ring finger, can you fill us in on the details?
GG: My son, Lenny, and my husband, Len, are my everything. Lenny is 15 months old and is the sweetest, happiest kid. He has a kiss, hug or high five for everyone. He’s just starting to talk but he knows all of his animal noises Len is the hardest working person I know and is incredibly talented. He works in construction and could build you a house from the ground up, which is handy since we are currently renovating our kitchen! He ripped the kitchen down to the studs and we are slowly recreating everything. It’s been a long process, especially with a toddler running around, but it’s turning out great.
KR: Lenny sounds like an absolute love-bug but we’ll need to go back to this kitchen reno topic – I want to see before and afters! I kinda want to meet this little cutie in person too, can he come in to “play” at the office? Ok, so what about your family? Brothers, sisters??
GG:I have to mention my twin sister, Christa, who is my best friend. She and I are extremely close, as you can imagine! We happen to live about a mile and a half away from each other which was not entirely planned but not entirely by accident either. My grandparents are two of my most favorite people. They’ve been married for 67 years and are still as much in love as the day they got married. Len and I want to be them when we grow up. My parents celebrated 40 years of marriage last year, too. We have some good marriage role models.
KR: 67 years?! That is so inspiring! Would you say that you are the “good” twin? Just kidding, you don’t have to answer that… Plans for the summer?
GG: Len and I are planning a vegetable garden this year and I’m crossing my fingers because I tend to kill any and all houseplants. We tried a small garden last year but could probably fit our entire season’s harvest in two hands. This year’s garden will be bigger but also hopefully…better.
KR: Oh good, I know where you can get some seeds Do you have a favorite meal?
GG: As you might imagine, dessert is my favorite meal. I will never say no to chocolate. My favorite thing to make is bread. My go-to dessert for company is either a flourless chocolate cake or a fruit tart. Each can be made ahead of time and look nice both on a dinner table and sliced on the plate.
KR: I’m with you, there’s something really satisfying about breaking off a piece of warm crusty bread that you made with your own hands. How about holidays, any favorites? They tend to revolve around food and all…
GG: Every year, my sister and I host a “Friendsgiving” which we’ve named “Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving” because apparently “Friendsgiving” was not enough of a tongue twister. Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday and now we have an excuse to celebrate it twice in the same week. Last year was our 10th year!
KR: Your family sounds like a blast! I’ve determined that each of us have a secret, or not-so-secret Chef crush around here. How about you?
GG: If I could share a meal with anyone it would be Ruth Reichl. I have a girl crush on her.
KR: Good choice! Fair is fair, mine is a little more local and I’m not shy about it – Chef James Wayman over at the Oyster Club in Mystic. We’ll have to get you over there since as I learned, you’re not local! You’ll love it, promise
Much of what makes Gourmet Galley so successful is the dedicated people working behind the scenes to keep us moving onward and upward. We work with the best! Plus, with initials like GG, Gena was the most natural fit!