When Michael LaCorte was a boy, he would come home after school and watch Graham Kerr on his television cooking show, The Galloping Gourmet. The program helped inspire him to become a chef. 

From there, LaCorte, who is the executive chef at Nassau Inn in Princeton, went on to dabble in cooking at a local coffee shop, work for Alfredo Debonis at an Italian restaurant and then attend the Culinary Institute of America.

LaCorte joined the Nassau Inn in the early '90s. He left a few years later to explore the corporate catering world, which he says comes in handy now. He returned to the restaurant in 2013.

“The history and location of the Nassau Inn make it feel like home to me,” says LaCorte.

The restaurant boasts 13 banquet rooms and 10,000 square feet of meeting space. The convenience of having a place to stay right where the event takes place cannot be understated. As an added bonus, room blocks are available at group rates for reservations of 10 or more room nights. LaCorte’s specific duties when it comes to events include menu development, ordering, organizing, staffing, working with the banquet team and day-of execution.

“In a lot of ways it is easier to cook for a large group versus ala carte,” says LaCorte. “It takes a little planning. When we are in the menu development phase we take a look at all of the limiting factors before designing the menu to ensure that we still deliver exceptional meals that people have grown to expect.”

For LaCorte, the best part of cooking is seeing the pleasure he can instill in his customers.

“I love the creativity that goes into writing menus and then seeing how my creations make people happy,” says LaCorte. “I love making people happy.”

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?


From Baltimore to Boston to brainstorming, Ralph Weaver has never been one to say “no” to trying something new. After studying communications and marketing at Boston University, the Baltimore native made his way to New York City where he worked with a public relations agency, allowing him to dip his toes in the world of event planning.  

And he hasn’t looked back since.


Matthew Hurlburt talks staying organized, walking the walk and what it means to be part of the Kimpton Family.