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Jill Kinney

Copine Restaurant

Growing up, Jill's mother was interested in cooking and eventually ran her own catering company, a restaurant, and finally opened her own place. Being raised around the food business, it's no surprise that Jill became a server after graduating from theatre school in New York. She fell into television and voice-over work; working at restaurants gave her income and flexibility to take jobs as they came up.

She began to take more of an interest in maître d'-ing. "I am good with guest recognition and anticipating people's needs. And I found that I responded very well to rules and directive, which the higher-end places I worked at had in spades. Working for people like Laura Cunningham, Thomas Keller and Jean Georges taught me to be truly invested in what you do every day. Hearing guests comment how we had exceeded their expectations had a profound impact on me. I have a pretty diplomatic personality in general, which I found helpful for this kind of career. I also had a knack for communicating well with chefs and staff, so it led naturally to management. "

She began as a maître d' at Guastavino, followed by Felidia, and Ilo, all in New York. In 2004, she joined Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York as head host, leading the host team. There she met Shaun McCrain, whom she would later marry. Together, they moved to San Francisco and worked at Michael Mina and Clock Bar in 2008; she was the assistant general manager. She became the assistant food and beverage manager at Bardessono hotel in Yountville, California, in 2009. Then it was on to Seattle where she helped open LUC as restaurant manager, before settling in as general manager for the city's Book Bindery restaurant, at which her husband helmed the kitchen and Muñoz managed the bar.

The key for Jill at Copine is to ensure that guests feel taken care of and comfortable. With so many options out there, she wants guests to return for the consistent experience they enjoyed. "Beautiful, well-seasoned food served with care."

December 2017

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