Monday, May 14, 2012
Bosnian native inspires ‘green,’ growing spices, values, culture at Seasons’ melting pot
Seasons Catering & Ice Sculptures prides itself as a “melting pot” of cultures, experiences and traditions among its diverse “work family,” says Devin Osborne, director of operations.
“We are a rainbow of personalities, tastes, ethnicities, origins and talents,” Osborne says, emphasizing that he believes that is one of the secrets to the success of the 15-year-old event management company, founded by Chef Michael – known as the “Ice Man” for his artistic ice sculptures – and his wife, Kellie.
Sena Hajdarevic a native of Bosnia is one of those “family” members,” and – because of her heritage – she is a major part of the drive to “go green” at Seasons.
It was Sena’s idea – and investment of time and effort – that lead to the creation of Seasons’ own spice and garnish garden. She even worked with Chef Michael to create a basic system to utilize excess snow and ice melt from ice sculpturing to repurpose purified water for the garden.
Sena’s motivation isn’t that it’s “trendy” to go green. She brings to the issue her own experiences and remembrances.
A simple, priceless photo album – representing all she has from her former home — reminds her of what is of real value in life.
“This is the only thing I have from Bosnia,” she says, pointing to a picture of two small children. Her memories are of a farm with expansive gardens, traditional farm animals, mature trees and beautifully manicured foliage.
That was before civil war broke out – and she lost nearly everything. Her husband was killed in the fighting; her farm home and possessions were burned to the ground; she had to beg for food and clean water. A promising future for her small children, including hope for an education, was lost.
A tent became “home,” and over five long and difficult years she realized she would never take anything for granted again. A refugee sponsorship finally allowed her to come to America with her two sons.
She has worked for Seasons for 11 years, becoming the second-most senior team member there.
Her view of “green” grew from a quiet understanding and respect. Waste is something that Sena cannot abide, so she is the Seasons’ team conscience for never taking blessings for granted.
“There is no question that we are all individually better, our food is improved and our business stronger because of Sena,” says Osborne.
She is an advocate for “buying local and growing our own spices and garnishes,” says Osborne.
Sena is primarily responsible for Seasons’ freshly-made sandwiches and box lunches, which she hand-crafts carefully daily without a single ounce of waste. She hand slices all of the various meats and vegetables used for sandwiches, very studiously creates Seasons’ signature chicken salad and potato salad.
For almost 11 years, Osborne points out, Sena has been the first person to show up to work, despite not having a driver’s license or knowing how to operate a vehicle. She works tirelessly, without complaint, and is one of the strongest points of quality control within the kitchen.
See KyForward’s story about Chef Michael’s award-winning ice sculptures. Learn more about Seasons Catering & Ice Sculptures at www.seasonsevents.com.