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Issue - Nov 19-25 Volume 23 Number 40

'You can never let up
in expecting excellence...'

LYNN BUONO | FEAST YOUR EYES

CEO File

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Name: Lynn Buono
Title: The CEO title doesn't really exist at Feast Your Eyes in a traditional way. My title is CCO (chief culinary officer).

Company: Feast Your Eyes Inc. of Philadelphia.

Recent project: Developed recipes specially created for caterers for Maple Leaf Duck, a national vendor of duck products.

Education: B.A., English literature, LaSalle University; post-graduate studies in literature and philology, University of Fribroug, Fribourg, Switzerland

First job: A) Tallying receipts for my father in his meat provisions business. B) Restaurant work while in high school.

Little known fact about me: I'm a certified Alexander Technique teacher.     

Home: Fairmount section of Philadelphia.


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BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

Essential business philosophy: Business success begins with a top-notch product or service but isn't complete if that requires sacrificing one's life outside of work. A company is obligated to apply this to both the business owners and the employees. A business is not an entity; it's a process.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Not to be isolated in a general sense; experience other people's food in the specific. Exposure to theater, music, travel and art in many forms is essential to keeping the creative process percolating, which fuels one's ability to stay on the leading edge of the wave, and perhaps even invent the edge.

Yardstick of success: Happy clients, happy company team. The first is evidence of successful events, the second means we're able to compensate staff with appropriate amounts of money and time while being financially sound.

Goal yet to be achieved: To be the best at what I do in the country. That does not meaning always serving foie gras and caviar. The social nature of catering enhances peoples' lives and they should be able to have great events at different price points.


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JUDGMENT CALLS

Best decision: Buying real estate for our business as we grew, rather than renting.

Worst decision: A) Not buying more real estate. B) Not installing big business financial practices early enough.

Toughest decision: Any time we have to fire an employee who simply is not working out.

Mentor: My parents.


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TRUE CONFESSIONS

Word that best describes me: Surprising.

Like best about my job: The design aspect of both the menu and the presentation.

Like least about my job: Paperwork.

The most important lesson I've learned: You can never let up in expecting excellence, because achieving it is a day in/day out job.

Life motto: One person can make a difference in the world.

Greatest fear: I am driven to produce great work, but the corollary to that is fear of not producing great work.

Person most interested in meeting: Gandhi.

Company you respect most: U.S. Postal Service: an incredible amount of details to accomplish every day, without let up, across the whole country.

First choice for a new career: Writing an entertaining catering book.

Greatest extravagance: My cookbook collection.


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ET CETERA

Award/honor most proud of: Being asked to be president of the Philadelphia chapter of LesDames d'Escoffier, and setting up the endowment for the Julie Dannenbaum Scholarship for women entering the food industry.

Most influential book: My first serious books of poetry, because they made me understand the power of words.

Favorite movie: "The Big Night."

Favorite restaurant: I tend towards ethnic restaurants that are not so expensive they can't be part of our normal week. We love having BBQ platters at Vietnam, Roberta Adamo's gnocci at Penne, Tom's South Street Souvlaki or Joe Poon's mushroom soup.

Favorite vacation spot: Taormina, Sicily.

Favorite way to spend free time: Family travel.

Automobile you drive: Mazda MPV minivan and Mini Cooper S.

- Andy Gotlieb

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Feast Your Eyes, Inc.
914-20 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123  215.923.9449