Aaron Sagendorf

Years of Participation

While going to college for teaching, I took a job as a waiter at a small restaurant on a golf course in my hometown. I liked being a part of someone’s experience, and the interaction therein. I have been in the industry for 25 years, first as a server, then growing into management roles from there. From 2004 to 2012 I worked at Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse (NYC), moving  from server to manager within a year, eventually becoming Maitre D’, Service Manager, and Sommelier. From 2012 to 2014 I served as the Director of Service for Michelin-starred restaurant, Oceana Restaurant.  From 2015 to 2017 I served as the General Manager for a seed to table restaurant, Arethusa al tavolo - named an OpenTable top 100 restaurant in the country.

One of my favorite things about the hospitality industry, inside of my role, and being in the world, is that I am always cognizant of within that moment and place, it is someone’s best day of their life . This is an important concept to me. Sometimes we get lost in the minutiae of our daily tasks and routines, and forget what we are really here for - to provide the backdrop and hospitality to create that best day or memory for the guest. Secondly, it’s the relationships you develop over the course of the years. From coworkers to vendors to guests, I have been very lucky to meet amazing people and have great experiences with them.  It’s the ability to turn a negative into a positive. Some of my best regulars are the ones that started with a negative experience and I was able to turn around, to step outside of myself and be in their shoes, and deliver that unexpected positive outcome to the situation. When not at work, I enjoy the moments that my life offers me. Sitting on a dock in Maine, looking out at the lake and the sense of calm and contentment that provides. Sitting around a campfire with a tasty beverage and great people, laughing until it hurts. Cooking at home for loved ones. The feeling of being out on the golf course, and wishing I was there more and experiencing and learning what this wonderful world has to offer, getting outside my comfort zone and discovering new favorites.