Staff – Paul Stelmack

Front of House Manager

Paul Stelmack

Paul Stelmack
Front of the House Manager

Tell us About Your Role:
Here at Coltivare I am the Front of House Manager, which means that I lead all of the restaurant staff that the guests interact with personally. Restaurant staff are broken down into the Back of House (Cooks, Dishwashers, Expeditors, Sous Chef, Executive Chef, etc.) and the Front of House (Host/Hostesses, Servers, Food Runners, Bussers, Bartenders, etc.). It is my distinct pleasure to also be in charge of the beverage offerings here at Coltivare, which means I am tasked with the management of Beer, Wine, Cider, Liquor, and Non-Alcoholic beverages. Given the wealth of Finger Lakes beverages, I cannot begin to emphasize the privilege it is to present this region’s bounty to both students and the general public. I also work to interface between the operation of Coltivare as a restaurant, catering facility, and educational institute. I taught a “Potions Class” during last year’s “Wizarding Weekend” and I look forward to the opportunity to provide more classes incorporating beverage service in the future.

How did you come to join the Coltivare team?
Before I came to Coltivare I had worked in the Food and Beverage Industry for over half my life. I have worked across a wide spectrum of the industry whether it be serving at a greasy spoon diner, night auditing at a hotel, managing a bakery, cocktail serving at a destination resort, bartending at a high-end restaurant, being Beverage Manager of a fine dining restaurant, washing dishes, bussing tables, managing a wine and liquor store, Bar managing at a major hotel chain, and much much more. I hold a Bachelor’s in Science from Paul Smith’s College, but when I graduated in 2009, the economic downturn forced me to go back to my roots in the Food and Beverage Industry. I often tell people that I “failed up,” oy now does my breadth of work experience in what (at the time) I considered “dead-end jobs” actually amount to a sum greater than the whole of its parts. My work in various kinds of Food and Beverage establishments has prepared me for the manifold challenges that managing a complex facility like Coltivare requires. Coltivare’s first Executive Chef Richard Brousseau and I worked together for years in Lake Placid NY, so when he came to join the team I got tapped about 6 months in to be a bartender here, and after two years I have worked my way up to Front of House Manager.

Why Coltivare?
I joined Coltivare in large part because I wanted to add an Academic component to my resume. Having worked on the retail end of the Food and Beverage Industry as well as the service end, I knew that working in an educational setting would further round out my skill sets and allow me to progress to the next phase of my career. I love the vision of Coltivare and have always been passionate about decentralizing the food distribution system in the United States to more sustainably provide quality food to more people. I am a huge advocate of eating regionally and seasonally based diets, so I leapt at the opportunity to work in an agricultural region at a farm to fork focused restaurant and educational facility.

Favorite Feature of the Finger Lakes Region?
The wealth of alcoholic beverages! Between the wine, beer, cider, and spirits the Finger Lakes is a bountiful playground for the Bon Vivant in all of us. The current tally of Breweries, Cideries, Wineries, and Distilleries in the Finger Lakes is now past 900! One could spend a lifetime living in the Finger Lakes trying all the alcoholic beverages and never even scratch the surface of what is being produced here. Beverages aside, I love the local cheeses and animal based food products.

Favorite kind of Food?
Offal. I grew up as a picky eater, and having spent so much time in this industry I have learned to try anything and everything at least twice. For those who don’t know what offal is, it’s all those “nasty” bits that people normally throw away; foie gras, head cheese, pate, scrapple, veal sweetbread, brain and kidney pie, Czarnina, trotters, oxtail, tripe, chitterlings, beef tongue, heart, liver, jowls, and all other forms of viscera.