April 2, 2015
This past Sunday, a number of us gathered in our new garden space for another dry run. The verdict - it's a rather astoundingly pleasant venue in which to while away a lovely spring evening over drinks, dinner and good company. Our gathering in this case was to celebrate the dual birthdays of two of our stalwart employees - Hall Sheriff, who is very much out front, and with whom most of you are no doubt acquainted (please do wish him a belated happy birthday when you see him), and Jessica Macedo, whose story (as it relates to Texas French Bread) is less visible, but very much worthy of note.
Jessica began woking at TFB in 2010. She came to us when her mother, Gloria (who has now worked at TFB for over a decade), covered a dishwashing shift at the last minute and brought in teenage Jess with her to help in the back. Well as it happens, we were swamped up front, and I quickly deduced that Jessica was the most available person to provide an extra pair of hands for bussing tables. What I remember from that night is that though she was very shy, Jess was smart, friendly and quick to pick up on the way of things.
After that first night, she had a job. She started working part time at Texas French Bread while also attending the challenging KIPP high school. She eventually graduated and became the first in her family to enroll in college. Jess brings such cheerful grace and dependability to the restaurant that we often wonder what in the world we did before she came to us. When she's around, anyone who sets out to do a task - say clear a table or bring water to new guests - almost always finds that task already completed. Jessica has beaten them to the punch. We now call this "getting Jessed."
So when Jessica turned 21 last week, we knew we had to celebrate in style. Gloria made mole and homemade tortillas; a good friend of Jess and the restaurant, Erin, made posole. Staff members brought fruit, flowers, beer, dessert and set up a killer playlist. We opened a few bottles of wine and had a leisurely, casual meal in the garden. I realized that night that I couldn't be prouder of Jess if she were my own daughter.
An old friend who worked as a recruiter for companies much larger than TFB once taught me the single most important thing I've ever known about business: the most important asset of any company is its people. They are not fungible. They bring their own personality, creativity, love, and energy to work with them everyday. Texas French Bread has made some amazing changes over the past few years. We've built a real chance to have a "second act" after our early success under my mother's leadership. The most important reason for that has been my good fortune in hiring amazing people. Jessica Macedo represents the best of the best. We wouldn't be here without her.
PS - Jess will be working in our garden patio this weekend for Easter Sunday. It's a perfect setting for a family outing, so come out for brunch and say hello! Also, don't forget about our garden party on April 12, a celebration launching the official opening of the patio for dinner service.