We shadowed MIDJersey execs in five diverse industries – hospitality, health care, non-profit, manufacturing, and architectural – and what we discovered was they all had a few key things in common. They all wear many hats. They all stay up at night fretting about where their next piece of business or grant will come from. (Sound familiar?) They’re not afraid to get their hands dirty. And most of all, they’re very passionate about what they do.
It’s 9 a.m. and things are already jamming at Jammin’ Crepes in Princeton. Co-owner Kim Rizk is singing along with Jeremiah, the head cook and crepista, as he heats up the griddles for the wildly popular 43-seat restaurant that made its debut on Princeton’s Nassau Street in 2014. Hair pulled back in a blond ponytail and wearing black loafers, Rizk is bopping through the restaurant greeting her employees, who are in full swing. A prep cook is chopping up mounds of bacon from a Lancaster farm (all of the restaurant’s food is locally sourced), and another is creating an enormous mountain of chopped butternut squash. Rizk, who grew up on a farm in Bucks County, Pa., and always has had a passion for cooking with farm-fresh ingredients, stops to take a peek at the daily 20-layer crepe cake offering (today it’s banana) and greet the customers (a significant portion of whom are Princeton University students and faculty), as they patiently wait in a line that snakes out the door into the 29-degree morning air. Next, she checks in with co-owners Kathy Klockenbrink, a longtime friend, and Amin, Kim’s husband, who are huddling in a small, two person office in the back of the restaurant going over plans for a food truck delivery that day. Although Rizk is cheery, she is stern with Amin over the timing of the delivery. The food truck is one of Jammin’ Crepes’ brand-new ventures, and Rizk wants to make sure the catering job goes perfectly. (Until recently, Rizk was delivering hundreds of crepes in her Toyota Highlander, so the branded truck represents growth for the business.) “You need to leave in 10 minutes, no later,” Rizk tells Amin, who handles the bookkeeping and back-office tasks for the company. “Yes, boss,” Amin smiles back. Read More