My RI Life: Kendal Fitzsimmons, Private Events Coordinator at Gracie's Prov
Growing up in an Italian family, food has always been more than that. To me, it has always been a symbol of happiness; it’s what brings friends and family together and even has the power to turn strangers into friends. It has this way of bonding people. There’s nothing more joyous than seeing someone’s face light up as they take a bite of something delicious. Perhaps, the only exception is when that person's eyes meet with the company across from them to notice the same exact expression and they begin to giggle uncontrollably, giddy from pure culinary bliss. As Gracie’s Private Events Coordinator, I am constantly surrounded by guests enjoying the best food and beverage (I may be a little biased!) in the city and have the opportunity to share my passion for culinary experiences with my clients on a daily basis.
I discovered I wanted to be an event planner when I planned an 8th grade graduation. This graduation just happened to be my own and I somehow managed to get permission to plan it on my own at just thirteen years old. After putting together that ceremony, and starting high school, I quickly became the honorary planner among my friends and was always the one coordinating birthday celebrations, weekend plans and vacations. It’s rare to find your passion so young in life, but I knew I loved event planning and when I realized I could make it my career, I did everything within my power to make that happen. I graduated from URI, majoring in Public Relations with a focus of events, and have been in the industry ever since. I could not be happier to be living my dream job each and every day.
Food & Restaurants
Rhode Island’s food scene has so much to offer. Where I choose to venture really depends on my current mood. Obviously, my first choice is always Gracie’s. It’s honestly difficult to just pick a few favorites, but if I had to, I’d say they would be our charred octopus, russet potato gnocchi and duck leg. The creme brulee is perfection and my favorite specialty cocktail is the "Yup! I'll Have Another." (It's true to it's name.) Gracie's sister bakery, Ellie's, is a must for sweet confections and the best breakfast sandwich. Other local spots that I love include Broadway Bistro (Get the ribs and grits.) and Faust (Get the spatzle.). If I’m feeling true to my Italian roots and get the urge to indulge in some pizza, I make my way to Caserta Pizza (for Sicilian style) or Venda Bar (for thin crust). Living in Tiverton, I tend to visit local spots more often. Some of my local favorites are The Black Goose for sandwiches, The Barn for brunch and Evelyn’s for clam cakes in the summer. Aidan’s Pub in Bristol is ideal for watching the Patriots while enjoying wings and the best Rueben in Little Rhody. I could go on and on about more must hit places, but I'll control myself. Did I mention that I love food? Some people eat to live and some people live to eat. I am, most definitely, the latter.
Event Planning @ Gracie's
Whether it’s a 30 person birthday party or a 150 person wedding, each event is entirely unique and we create customized menus for each and every party. As expected, it takes a lot of one on one time with clients to ensure that their vision is made a reality and it is absolutely worth every second. Making them happy is the most important and most rewarding aspect of my job. As Maya Angelo once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." It’s a very special feeling to play a role in creating a memory that could potentially last a lifetime and I'm always striving to accomplish that goal.
Photo Credits: Photo's courtesy of Kendal Fitzsimmons, Gracie's, and Ellie's