In Conversation -- With Katie Rosengren
In Conversation, with Katie Rosengren
By William Deeks
Hometown: Sanford, Maine
Katie Rosengren has had a big year. Working at Juliet as a General Manager, organizing forums for the community to come together to discuss important topics (environmental impact of restaurants, workplace harassment) and most importantly, having her first kid. We were still able to find some time to sit and down and talk just as she was coming off of her maternity leave. In restaurants people spend loads of time together, but there isn't normally a chance to have in depth conversations. Here we were able to touch upon her time working in New York, her original plan to become a filmmaker, families in and out of the restaurant, and storytelling.
What was your first restaurant Job?
My first restaurant job was in Maine. It was the summer I turned 20. A family restaurant that doesn't exist anymore. I told my mom while I was home for the summer that I was going to get a restaurant job to practice for when I graduated film school. She thought it was funny. I was serious.
What made you want to go into film? Had you decided while still in school that you didn't want to do film?
I really liked telling stories. So film was a way to tell stories with the visual. I have found in my life now, writing is a better outlet for that creativity.
Some aspects that I like about film are also satisfied working in restaurants. Working with a team of people I like. Something is always happening, and you having to figure out how to adjust course and keep things moving. Constantly being on your feet and problem solving.
After I graduated, I thought I might want to do it. But over time I realized that I didn't want to be a PA (Production assistant) for the rest of my life. By then I was already way into working in restaurants, and realizing that I was good at it.
What were the films that inspired you to be interested in that sort of storytelling?
Well, my favorite movie is The Princess Bride. It has everything: romance, action, family, comedy, drama, and Billy Crystal. Then taking a turn, Taxi Driver. A very interesting movie stylistically. It was very influential to the films I made, and plus, young Robert De Niro.
So after Maine, you worked in restaurants in New York City?
Yes. I worked at a fine dining place. Very old fashioned place where all the servers were men. I was encouraged to wear the shortest skirt possible to work. My title was reservationist. I was very young and had a different view on my work. When I was younger, I was like- ‘well that's just how it is’- I didn't have the same viewpoint on respect. I didn't care as much about being disrespected. Or being called on my days off to be yelled at for something being wrong.
Over time you moved on through different restaurants, when did it start to feel like a career? Feel like you were hitting your stride?
I remember wondering what I was doing with my life. Then my co-workers at the restaurant I was working at the time suggested that I manage brunch. Anyone who works in the restaurant industry knows that brunch is its own beast. I became the brunch manager and then I grew into becoming a full time manager.
And then eventually you made your way to Boston?
Yes. My husband and I knew we wanted to have a baby. We knew that we didn't want to have it in New York. We moved to Somerville without jobs. Everyone thought we were crazy for moving without jobs. I had been thinking that I was going to work in an office, looking back on it- to me, the idea of me working in an office was actually the crazy part. I applied to Juliet. I told them I wanted to work during the day and not as much on weekends. Josh and Katrina were very open to that.
It must be crazy to think back on that now. Now that you are coming back from maternity leave.
Katrina and Josh are very good about learning what their employees goals are, not just at work, but in life. I told them early on that I wanted to have a baby. They were very supportive of that. On top of that I could plan things with a little more certainty because I wasn't working for tips.
So what are you excited about for the future?
It’s weird to think about my future now. My world feels focused on the present, because I just had a kid. I would like my future to be working at Juliet and hanging out with my family. People at Juliet are really like family to me. I want Henry to grow up in the restaurant, and any other kid I have to grow up there as well. The more one can be a part of a community, the better someone’s childhood is and without having blood relatives close, having a restaurant family is really important.