Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine HO15

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WOMEN RUN THE SHOW AT DOWNTOWN DINING Restaurant managers once always wore power suits and scowls. Within that testos- terone-rich environment, women were relegat- ed to hostess, server or pastry chef. Not so at Downtown Dining, where women rule the roosts as general managers. "I didn't set out to have three women GMs, but I'm thrilled it worked out that way," says owner Tony Tollner. "All three are amazing women. They bring maturity, patience, compassion, but they're also fierce. A magical combination." Tollner balances gender disparity with Kathy Solley (Montrio Bistro), Becky Ellis (Rio Grill) and Debbie Edwards (Tarpy's Roadhouse). Solley has worked in restaurants for 30 years. "I lead by example," she says. "When a table needs to be set, I set it, when food needs to be run, I run it. My staff knows that I don't expect anything from them I don't expect from myself." Ellis started at Rio Grill as a server in 1991. She became restaurant manager in 2010 and was named general manager earlier this year. Motherhood shaped her career. "It's given me perspective. When you are a mom you learn early on to multitask, listen, live not only outside yourself but beyond yourself." Edwards took her first restaurant job at 16 as a busgirl at Carmel Valley's Buckeye. The mother of two college-age sons came to Tarpy's as a server in 1993 and became GM in 2000. "It took years of hard work to earn the respect I have now as a professional," she says. "Being a mom has helped. I consider my staff and customers to be family. I seem to under- stand what they need." SIERRA MAR GARDEN INSPIRES CHEF COX Many chefs preach sustainability but rarely leave the "pulpit" to get their hands dirty. Sierra Mar's John Cox finds solace and spirituality in his organic garden at Post Ranch Inn. Cox nurtures the fenced-in plot that provides inspiration for a menu that changes daily. He 160 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 5 Three of the most popular Monterey Peninsula restaurants are run by women (L to R): Debbie Edwards manages Tarpy's Roadhouse, Becky Ellis manages Rio Grill, and Kathy Solley runs Montrio Bistro. The restaurants' owner Tony Tollner praises all three. Photo: Kelli Uldall food for thought Female Forces at Downtown Dining, Edible Ar t at Sier r a Mar, and Authentic Sushi at Akaoni B Y L A R R Y H A R L A N D

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