What was your first job in the industry? I worked for my father’s fast food restaurant.
At what age did you become interested in cooking? 15
At what age did you know you wanted to be a chef? 18
What was the most interesting thing that happened to you in the restaurant business? The most interesting thing that happened to me was when I opened my 24 hour restaurant in Chicago.
What year did you start as a chef at Mariner’s? 2007
What do you like to do when you are not at work? I like to work out and I am a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. I also love spending time with my family.
Favorite Foods? Steak and pasta
What do you like the most about working at Mariner’s? I have a great team and they are all hard workers.
What are the new menu items on this most recent menu revision? Cajun salmon, Coulotte steak topped with lobster, and Cajun walleye pike
Where are some of the other places you have worked? Washington Square, Drake Hotel, Chez Paul, Grassfields, and Fireside Hotel
How does your culinary training benefit you in your job as chef at Mariner’s? It has benefited me by be able to train staff, create menu items, placing orders, and dealing with people in general.
Anything else our customers should know about you? I want to make people happy when they dine at Mariner’s. If customers are happy they will come back. I also spend a lot of time training our cooks. I do not like turnover. That is what makes a restaurant great.
What was your first job in the industry? I was hired out of college as a coffee server at the newly opened Sheraton Madison Hotel ( I left 14 years later as the assistant General Manager).
What was the most important thing that happened to you in the restaurant/hotel business? Being able to travel and work throughout the USA with Sheraton and Radisson Hotels and work with celebrities such as Mickey Mantle, Elvis Presley, Svetlana Stalin, Connie Chung, Ozzy Osbourne, Cheap Trick, Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Neil Diamond.
List the names of places and locations and the date ranges where you have worked.
- Sheraton Madison Hotel: 1972 – 1987 server, assistant banquet manager, banquet manager, F & B manager, assistant GM
- Quality Inn, Madison: 1987 – 1993 General Manager
- DMZ Partnership: 1989 – 1993 General partner and owner of the Marshfield Innkeeper
- The Hotel Group: 1993 – 1999 General Manager Radisson Hotel
- Hostmark Hospitality Group – Sheraton Madison Hotel: 1999 – 2008 Director of Sales and Marketing/ Asst. General Manager
When did you start at Mariner’s? Easter Sunday 2009
What do I like to do when I am not working? I love to travel when I make the time.
My favorite food? Authentic German food
Donna Wood: Social Media/Emails/Website
What was your first job in the hospitality industry?
My parents bought a resort in Northern WI when I was 10 years
old and I bussed tables and did dishes at our restaurant and
helped run the resort when I was not at the restaurant.
At what age did you become interested in this industry? What made you decide?
I guess I became interested in the industry when I was older
and realized that I had a really good memory. A good
memory and organization skills are really an asset in the
hospitality industry. In my early twenties I really came out
of my shell and overcame my shyness. That is when I was truly
able to shine.
What was the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the restaurant business?
I could probably write a book on all my experiences, but waiting on Bill Murray was
definitely a highlight and Martin Mull. While working at the Walt Disney World Swan I also
got to see Montel Williams and Leonardo DiCaprio. In 1997 I won waitress of the year and
raised over $1,000 for the Lakeland Hawks Ice Association in Minocqua, WI. I have also
made so many friends that started out being customers that I feel very blessed.
List names of places and locations and date ranges of all your foodservice jobs and non food service jobs:
Beaver Lodge, Mercer, WI 1976-1983
Fireplace Inn, Winchester, WI 1984-1985
Simpson Electric, Mercer, WI
Hackney’s on Lake, Glenview, IL 1985-1986
Longhorn Café & Cantina, Madison, WI 1987-1988
Point Resort & Hotel, Minocqua, WI 1989-1990
Fireplace Inn, Manitowish Waters, WI 1990-2000
WDW Swan Hotel, Orlando, FL 1997-1998
Start date with von Rutenberg Ventures:
What do you like to do when you are not at work?
My boyfriend and I love traveling and food. I am a foodie and a huge Anthony Bourdain
fan. I have had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Zimmern at the 2011 WRA show and at
this year’s show I got to meet Duff Goldman from “Ace of Cakes”. I also love horseback
riding and try to make time for that once a year. My latest interest is social media and I am
lucky enough to be handling all aspects of that for the Mariner’s Inn. I am also
a new Grandma and I love my little Belle Susanne Wood.
Crab legs, crab cakes, grouper, anything coconut, and Puerto Rican food
What do you like the most about working at von Rutenberg Ventures?
I like that fact that my versatility has given me enough work at one place without having to get a second job. I love the customers and my co-workers.
Anything else our customers should know about you?
I like to have a good time doing what I do and making friends one customer at a time.