A Day in the Life of Michael's On East Catering Captain Henry Alberico

One day with Henry Alberico, catering captain at Michael's On East.

By Robert Castro January 30, 2015

0300 fuji efu3pt

In 1988, Henry Alberico went to work for Phil Mancini, who had started a little catering company. That company became part of Michael’s On East, Sarasota’s mega-successful restaurant and catering operation, and Alberico, 60, is catering captain. A beloved fixture in Sarasota’s frenetic social whirl—Michael’s On East hosts as many as eight events a day during season—Alberico oversees every aspect of an event, facing down near-disasters—flooded tents, power outages, a lost truckload of desserts—with calm good cheer. And like many of the guests he serves, he’s a snowbird, spending summers on a lake in upstate New York, where he owns two rustic cabins.

0341 fuji oi5mfc

7:32 a.m.  “No matter how late I get home, I’m up early. I turn on the Today show, read the newspaper and drink my coffee. Then I head to the gym. I’ll need plenty of energy today—we’re doing the Debutante Ball, one of the biggest parties of the season.”

0058 fuji pro 160 m74hxm

9:30 a.m. “The ball is just one of our events today. Here I’m getting the wines for a dinner in the Wine Cellar. Phil creates the menu and [Phil’s partner] Michael Klauber selects the wines. They have such incredible knowledge and connections. Emeril Lagasse filmed a show in the cellar the other day.”

0402 k25 ldkhry

11:57 a.m. “I’m in the restaurant kitchen, preparing to serve luncheon in the ballroom for a nonprofit event, making sure everything is plated properly. The main function of many of these events is fundraising, so you have to time the food service to work with the organization’s program.”

0090 fuji xwmylg

1:15 p.m. “I just got to the Municipal Auditorium and before the staff arrives, I’m reviewing the plan for the Debutante Ball—the timeline, menu, table setting, special notes—everything is on these pages. We’ll be serving a three-course dinner to 750 guests.”

0218 k25 gojveb

2:13 p.m.  “I’m meeting with the staff—there are 55 tonight. I’m telling them about the timeline and menu and their assignments. We’re in the kitchen we’ve set up under tent off to the side of the building.”

0122 fuji vjljbz

5:24 p.m. “This event is so large we have tables set in the balcony so I came upstairs to inspect those and give everything a last look. Everything is looking good.”

0235 k25 hvmhdh

6:10 p.m. “The guests have started to arrive. I love the pomp and circumstance of this event and that it attracts so many of the old Sarasota contingent—wonderful people who have made this place what it is.”

0292 fuji xky8pg

10:18 p.m. “People have left and we’re beginning to break things down. The staff was really proud and happy about how well everything went tonight—Dylan, one of our newer employees, is giving me a hug.”

0005 fuji pro 160 jk7ss8

1:03 a.m. “Home at last. I’ll throw my dirty clothes into the washer and read myself to sleep. Some restaurant people like to stay up and unwind, but I’ve been going since 7 a.m. and I’m beat.”

Show Comments