Meet Lesley Anderson—she’s been the general manager at Ashley Christensen’s James Beard award-winning Poole’s Diner, and is now transitioning into a role at the soon-to-open Poole’side Pies. She’s also a panelist at the upcoming In the Parlour event, hosted by CurEat. It’s the second in a series of discussions celebrating the hospitality community in our Triangle. On Sunday, June 9 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Anderson along with Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner and Caroline Morrison of Fiction Kitchen will gather at Baldwin& “discuss the impact, power, and support of the LGBTQ+ community.” We talked with Anderson on her experience in the hospitality industry and what she hopes for the future of the LGBTQ+ community in the food scene and in Raleigh.
As told to Catherine Currin
Tell me a little bit about how you got into the hospitality industry, and your overall experience at Poole’s
I officially entered the service industry three days after I graduated from college. Having a passion for people and operations/systems—the service industry catered to both! Graduating with an English degree and Sociology minor—I didn’t have a highly specialized degree. Applying for a few jobs within my field of study came up dry so I began to look elsewhere. Chris Powers at Trophy Brewing Company was the first person to call me back after answering a Craigslist ad. I took the interview and was offered a job as a server a few days later. I will forever be grateful for Chris and Woody for taking a chance on me. My 18 months with Trophy gave me a crash course in serving in a high volume and new restaurant.
Working for Poole’s and AC Restaurants has forever changed me. I have had the privilege of growing up with the company. AC [Ashley Christensen] has believed and supported me through dreams I didn’t even know resided within. Putting in a lot of sweat equity and heart have led me to General Manager of the sacred space. Poole’s will forever hold a special place in my heart. There is a magic that exists within those walls that I haven’t felt in other restaurants before. I’m happy to call it home.
What made you want to participate in this forum with CurEat?
Being passionate about people—it’s important to have conversations and create relationships. I made a commitment to myself a long time ago to not turn down opportunities for growth. I consider this panel one of those opportunities.
To purchase tickets to In the Parlour, click here.