Dianne Sclafani was destined to create her dream career of owning her own speaking and consulting business. She is privileged to share her expertise with others in the food and restaurant businesses.
Dianne Sclafani's Story
Dianne's food experience started in her childhood by living above in her family's 500-seat Italian, seafood and steak restaurant and catering facility. From early on, she was immersed and eager to learn the food recipes, production, working with the staff, the business, and most of all, becoming a part of their customer's happy occasions.
The restaurant was founded by her Grandfather, Pete J. Sclafani, Sr. The business started small in the Mid-City area of New Orleans in 1945 and expanded to Metairie in 1958. “Papa Pete” had many businesses before the restaurant. He was an experienced butcher, owned bars and other businesses which helped to prepare him for opening the restaurant. He loved people and appreciated serving his guests quality, delicious fresh food. Over the years, the restaurant was known for Italian favorites as well as the freshest seafood and steaks. There were many signature dishes such as Stuffed Shrimp in Hollandaise Sauce, Red Snapper Soup, Sclafani's Italian Salad Bowl prepared at tableside, Stuffed Artichokes, Seafood Platter, just to name a few. The Sclafani's Italian Salad Dressing and Remoulade Sauce were sold in local grocery stores.
Customers visited the restaurant regularly from all around the New Orleans area, often from Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Many national and international tourists dined here as part of their New Orleans experience. Celebrities enjoyed putting their framed, signed pictures on the walls of the dining room in the restaurant. Large corporations in the oil, chemical, and gas industries frequently had their banquets and business meetings at the restaurant. Every weekend they were booked for wedding receptions and other special events.
Dianne says the restaurant was her “playground”, where she worked and learned the good, bad and ugly of the aspects of running a successful multi-service restaurant and business.
Some of Dianne's fondest childhood memories are of working with the smell of anise and other herbs making Italian sausage, their famous salad dressing, and rolling Italian meatballs. She worked with garlic so much that she still thinks garlic is perfume!
Restaurant Sclafani, Inc. celebrated 40 years in business. Times Picayune, November 6, 1983. In Picture - Dianne's Family-Father-Frank Peter Sclafani, Sr., Grandmother-Myrtle Hobbs Sclafani, Mother-Dianne Clare Sclafani, Brother-Frank Peter Sclafani, Jr. and Dianne Frances Sclafani.
Her curiosity for personal growth and businesses opportunities grew in her high school and college days. She wanted to learn how other people made a lived without owning a restaurant. This brought her to study vocal performance, winning many state high school awards and then a vocal performance college scholarship. She continued to pursue her desire to learn more about business and marketing. She received her degree in Business Management. Dianne has always worked hard to enhance her career. A twist in careers lead to working in banking investment sales for twelve years and in some retail stores; always maintained some part of working in the family’s business. Later, for over ten years, she networked with chefs and restaurant owners to provide them with trained cooks and chefs as she worked as a chef instructor for her father's commercial cooking school. The school was in business for twenty-seven years.
One of her favorite jobs was working as a sales consultant for gourmet and general food distributors. Here she learned the other side of the food purchasing business and availability of products. Dianne built business relationships with her clients by (offering to) consulting, training and speaking on topics of their businesses. Her leadership and success started her dream career of owning her speaking and consulting business. She is privileged to share her expertise with others in the food & restaurant business.
Her extensive food business knowledge and work experience provides insight when consulting and training restaurant owners, chefs, food manufacturers, wholesale and retail food vendors, and other food related businesses. She is hands-on to help them in all aspects of small business ownership, administrative and operational business needs to attain profitability.
She continues to be an active professional member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF.) She is a past president of the National Speakers Association (NSA) New Orleans Chapter and was awarded Chapter Member of the Year. Dianne networks with the Louisiana Restaurant Association. She is a Certified Instructor & Registered ServSafe Examination Proctor to administer the ServSafe Course and Exam by the National Restaurant Educational Foundation.
Dianne is honored to be the Culinary & Foodservice Business Development Consultant for the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) for the Greater New Orleans and Bayou Region for over ten years. She also reaches out to assist business owners throughout Louisiana.
Currently, Dianne has consulted over 700 new and established local business owners enabling them to strengthen and expand their businesses. Dianne continues to help them through individual consulting and presenting culinary entrepreneur training programs.