Jacqueline Carson-Aponte: GM at Dirt Candy

My NativeAdVantage:


Originally from Philadelphia, I started my restaurant career at 16 years old as a busser at an Italian restaurant in the suburbs of Philadelphia, moved to NYC in 1999 and worked my way up through the front-of-house ranks, eventually landing GM positions at Allen & Delancey, Dressler and now at Dirt Candy.

What do you do best?

Turning one-time diners into regulars. When someone wants to book another reservation before they leave, I know that I’ve done my job.

What makes you the best?

Positive leadership, hard work, thick skin, a sense of humor.

How will you stay the best?

Never becoming complacent.

Biggest success?

My biggest success has yet to come.  However, landing the GM position at Dirt Candy is right up there!

What are your aspirations?

Personal: To spend more time with loved ones, to travel more, to learn Spanish

Business: To open a little Colombian restaurant with my husband in NYC or maybe a small hotel in a remote and exotic locale.  

Most challenging moment?

The biggest challenge as a manager is to keep pushing yourself and the staff even when things appear to be running smoothly.  There is always room for improvement and never time to be lazy.

What fascinates you?

Favorite Motto:

Grace under fire

Favorite People:

-    My husband, Leonardo Aponte. His love and support is boundless, his creativity, style and talent are inspirational.

-    My parents, Simone & Lee Carson, style, grace and hard work personified.

-    Ellen Yin, owner of Fork and High Street on Market in Philadelphia, who gave me my start in restaurants at age 19, and sparked my passion in hospitality.

-    Amanda Cohen, the hardest working person I know, I’ve learned a tremendous amount from her since I began working at Dirt Candy.

-    Chef Lynn Crawford and Chef Lora Kirk of Ruby Watchco in Toronto, amazing Chefs and restaurateurs all around, I am lucky to count them as friends.

-    Colin Devlin, another inspirational restaurateur and friend.  He put Williamsburg on the map with his brand of great food and drinks, convivial atmosphere and warm and gracious service at restaurants Dumont and Dressler. I consider myself lucky to have worked for him.

Favorite Places:

- New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, New Orleans.

- My family’s home in Philadelphia.  

- The beach.

Favorite Products:

I recently purged my apartment of things I no longer need, so I am not exactly into things per se.  However, if I have to choose a few of my favorite things: Anything from Muji, they make affordable, simple and well designed home goods, clothing from Diane Von Furstenberg, clogs from No. 6, fragrances from Hermes, my handmade mochila from Colombia, and any gift ever given to me by my husband.

Current Passions:

Minimalism (a work in progress)