Melissa Bradberry Sims: LC Remains Close to Her Heart – American Press
A career in hospitality took Melissa Bradberry Sims from New York to Chicago and Los Angeles. Throughout her journey, the sense of community she felt growing up in Lake Charles has remained close to her heart, she said.
Sims was born in Baton Rouge and later moved to Lake Charles. She attended Our Lady Queen of Heaven Elementary School and St. Louis Catholic High School.
After graduating from high school, Sims attended Nicholls State University and earned a Bachelor of Culinary Arts from Chef Jon Folse Culinary Institute. She then attended the University of New Orleans and earned a master’s degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism administration.
Growing up, Sims said she developed a curiosity about cooking from being a shadow of her grandmothers, who were both excellent cooks. That curiosity eventually turned into a passion, she said.
“I was strapped to their hips while they made cookies, cut vegetables for okra, fried chicken as well as red beans and rice,” she said.
“My first job in one of their kitchens was measuring out the sugar for the sweet tea and tying all the tea bags together so they could steep properly.”
Sims said she eventually told her parents about her love for cooking, but couldn’t imagine making a living doing it. She said her parents’ support allowed her to explore various career options. She landed her first job in the industry working in the kitchens of the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans.
The Sims eventually moved to Washington DC, followed by New York and Chicago. She returned to New York before moving to San Diego.
During these periods, she held various titles including Cook, Assistant Restaurant Manager, Director of Learning and Development, Director of People and Culture, and Resort Director.
Sims now lives in Los Angeles and is the hotel manager of the legendary Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel. The hotel is famous for being featured in the hit 1990 film, “Pretty Woman”.
“In my current role, I am responsible for all property operations – food and beverage, rooms, spa and engineering – as well as navigating a multi-million dollar renovation project,” she said. .
Sims said she and her husband moved from New York to San Diego just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. While the two were grateful to live in a larger area, it was difficult to be isolated from other relatives.
“It was scary knowing that the support system I had for my little family was me and my husband,” she said. “Even Nana and Papa’s visits were fewer than we were used to: in fact, we went over a year without seeing them.”
Sims said COVID-19 has made managing her job responsibilities even more complex. Adhering to city, county and state mandates on mask-wearing and hygiene standards continues to be tricky, she said.
“This continues to be of great importance as the health and safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority,” she said.
“Also, it is extremely important to me to ensure that my employees are well taken care of during this time and to help them through these difficult times.”
Sims’ curiosity about cooking in her youth led her to an industry where no two days are alike, she said. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought additional challenges.
“But every day gives me the opportunity to be curious, to learn and to connect with my team to ensure we deliver best-in-class experiences to those who stay with us,” she said. declared.
Sims said his family who still lives in southwest Louisiana were not injured in Hurricanes Laura or Delta.
“Combating property damage and repairing it is an uphill battle,” she said. “However, there are many who have suffered more, so we are incredibly grateful.”
Sims said his dedication to the hospitality industry came from his continuous search for a “sense of being connected as a group with a unified purpose”. She said that was evident throughout southwest Louisiana, with residents showing love and support in times of need while celebrating local and national traditions.
“From Friday night post-football gumbos to Mardi Gras and festivals, we truly celebrate our state and its generosity at every opportunity we get,” she said. “These are things that I miss and that continue to resonate with me even to this day.”