Job Title: General Manager, Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Location: Pocantico Hills, NY
Christine Langelier’s interest in hospitality and culinary arts began at a vocational technical high school near her home in Bellingham, MA. “I was involved with SkillsUSA and went to the National Leadership and Skills Conference twice,” recalls Christine, general manager at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY. “I mostly focused on front-of-the-house but still had dreams of being in the kitchen.”
After graduating high school, Christine attended Widener University in Philadelphia pursuing a degree in hospitality. After a year there, she decided the traditional college atmosphere wasn’t a good fit. She packed her bags and headed to Walt Disney World in Florida. “I spent a year there and got a great foundation of guest and hospitality interaction that really set the basis for my working in the hospitality industry,” she says. It also convinced Christine that her next step would be culinary school. “The only choice for me was The Culinary Institute of America.”
Once Christine completed her associate degree in culinary arts she didn’t think twice about continuing her education. “I knew I was a natural born leader and it only made sense for me to continue to build a strong foundation for the future by completing a bachelor’s degree,” says Christine. “You really get a sense of place at the CIA, and feel that you’re part of a greater community working towards a common goal. It’s the whole mise en place mindset. I still use it every day. I take time at night to prepare for the next day’s work, just like I did at the CIA.”
Christine started her six-month front-of-house apprenticeship for Restaurant Management & Service (F.A.R.M.S.) at Blue Hill at Stone Barns the Monday after graduation. “I had just completed the bachelor’s program and was drawn to the front of the house but I still wanted to have the option of working in the back of the house. The apprenticeship seemed like a great opportunity to get my hands dirty on the farm, then clean them up for work in the dining room,” recalls Christine. Within three and a half months, she became a captain in the dining room. She was the first to earn that title while doing an apprenticeship. Christine quickly moved up the ranks first as assistant service manager, then assistant general manager, and finally general manager. “We have about 40 people who work in the front of the house and I like to say that I’m the culinary liaison to the back of the house because I have my degree from the CIA and I’ve had my hands in the kitchen,” she says.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns won the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Service and the 2015 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant. Christine was part of the management team that flew to Chicago for each of the ceremonies. “It’s really come full circle for me,” she says. “I volunteered at the James Beard Awards for many years while I was a student at the CIA. Now I’m an actual attendee, and we won two years in a row! I’m really proud to work with an amazing team, on a farm that is self-sustaining, and at one of the world’s best chef-driven restaurants.”
Christine loved her time at the CIA and advises students to, “Get involved and take advantage of everything the CIA has to offer. You may have your heart set on the back of the house but you should always keep your options open. You may discover another career path that is equally rewarding.”