Jared Chorney – Food and Beverage Director

- filed under Meet The Staff.

Executive PortraitJared Chorney, a “foodie” both professionally and personally, is The Townsend Hotel’s food and beverage director.  Since winter 2013, Chorney has been responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the hotel’s food and beverage department, including the award-winning Rugby Grille, The Townsend Bakery, The Corner and the property’s banquet operations.

Prior to joining The Townsend, Chorney, a culinary industry veteran, most recently served as the general manager of food and beverage operations for the Baronette Renaissance Detroit-Novi Hotel in Novi, Mich.  Prior to that, the Rhode Island native served in the same role at the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel in Providence, R.I.  Chorney also is the former proprietor of Palma Restaurant, a Mediterranean-inspired small plates bistro in New Milford, Conn.

So how does a career gastronome keep himself and The Townsend’s food and beverage program at the top of its class?  “Listen to what your guests are saying to you.  I have met so many people who think the way they have been doing things for 20 years is the only way…but trends change, and guests’ tastes change,” said Chorney.  “You have to be flexible and willing to adapt to what your core group of customers are looking for.”

Chorney also credits his success with the ability to think like an owner.  As an entrepreneur who started his own business at 21, Chorney keeps his focus on what is best for the customer and the longevity of the business.

In addition to food and wine, Chorney is a fan of travel and automobiles.  He names the opportunity to meet and serve “The Galloping Gourmet” Graham Kerr, as his most memorable career moment to date!

A fan of wine, travel and automobiles, Chorney says his favorite aspect of his job with The Townsend is the opportunity to interact with the hotel’s variety of amazing guests on a daily basis.

Angela Trainor – The Corner Manager

- filed under Meet The Staff.

Executive Portrait

While others all around her are relaxing and partying, Angela Trainor is hard at work.  As manager of The Corner, The Townsend Hotel’s intimate bar/lounge and Birmingham’s nightlife hot spot, Trainor is responsible for day-to-day management of operations, including oversight of all promotions, events, staffing, menus and customer experiences.   It isn’t exactly a typical 9-to-5 gig, but Trainor, a self-described “adventure lover,” wouldn’t have it any other way!

Prior to her role with The Corner, Trainor most recently tended bar at Rockwells Republic in Grand Rapids, Mich.  Before that, she spent nearly five years as beverage manager for Louis Benton Steakhouse, also in Grand Rapids.

For other night owls like her considering a career in bar/nightclub management, Trainor would share this advice: whether earned through school or from on-the-job training, never underestimate the importance of a good education.  Hospitality is a business, and first and foremost, being well-informed on what makes a business successful in this industry is a must.

A Troy, Mich. resident, Trainor, who was born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in several areas throughout Michigan, attended Central Michigan University.


Shari Sako-Bojan – Director of Banquet Operations

- filed under Meet The Staff.

Executive PortraitFrom overseeing a summit meeting that included six foreign heads of state, a former president and Henry Kissinger, to helping manage a $9.5 million country club renovation, Shari Sako-Bojan, The Townsend Hotel’s director of banquet operations, has seen and done more than most in her 40+ years in the food and beverage/hospitality industry.

Sako-Bojan, who joined The Townsend team in 2013, is responsible for managing the hotel’s wedding, meeting and catering events.  Before The Townsend, she served as club house manager with Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester, Mich.  Additionally, Sako-Bojan’s career includes food and beverage management roles with such notable Michigan hotels as The Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn and the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, as well as with prestigious local country clubs Shenandoah in West Bloomfield and Franklin Hills in Farmington Hills.

When asked her best advice for a successful career like hers, Sako-Bojan keeps it simple: “Focus on the big picture.”

A Royal Oak, Mich. resident, Sako-Bojan attended Eastern Michigan University studying communications.  She is an active volunteer with several area animal rescue groups.

Drew Sayes – Executive Chef

- filed under Meet The Staff.

500.750.IMG_7743rIn 2007, Drew Sayes, The Townsend Hotel’s executive chef since December 2012, earned the title of youngest ever executive chef with his then employer, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.  During his tenure with Ritz Carlton, Sayes’ served at various property locations throughout the U.S., including Dearborn, Mich., Marina del Rey, Calif., New Orleans, La. and Buckhead, Ga.  Just prior to joining The Townsend team, Sayes most recently served as executive chef at the prestigious Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

So how did Sayes get so far up the “food chain” so quickly?  “Arrive early, stay late, be humble and clean!” he advises.  He also encourages young up-and-coming chefs to never take any experience for granted.  “Everything you see, touch, smell, taste and experience makes you a stronger culinarian.”

Sayes, who has had the privilege of working for some of the luxury dining industry’s best American chefs in classic foodie cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans and Atlanta, brings to The Townsend a focus on local, sustainable, fresh, quality, and most importantly, approachable foods.

“Fine dining doesn’t have to mean pretentious dining,” says Sayes.  “I want diners at The Rugby Grille to fully enjoy the sights, smells and delicious tastes of our menu, not be intimidated or overwhelmed by it.  This is simple yet delectable food prepared with passion and integrity.”

A native of the metro Detroit area, Chef Sayes received his formal training at the Culinary Studies Institute located at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Mich.  In August 2012, he became a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation.


Steven Kalczynski – Managing Director

- filed under Meet The Staff.

Executive PortraitSteven Kalczynski, now a hospitality industry veteran, didn’t know a single soul in all of Asia when he hopped a flight to spend a month there looking for work to bolster his burgeoning resume with international experience.  He ultimately landed in Shanghai, serving as resident manager of the Portman Shangri-La.  Since then, Kalczynski, who has called The Townsend Hotel home since September 2012, added professional pins to Xian, Beijing, Mumbai, Grenada, W.I., Toronto and Doha, Qatar on his world map of global experience.  Stateside, Kalczynski’s more than 30-year-career also has included property management roles in Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Charlotte, NC and Los Angeles.

Kalczynski’s on-the-job globetrotting taught him a valuable career lesson that he carries with him throughout his daily work at The Townsend Hotel, whether hosting a neighborhood couple for a little luxury staycation, or a foreign diplomat visiting on official business.  “After years of working in many different cultures around the world, I understand that everyone is different and needs to be treated uniquely.”

Kalczynski also finds great professional guidance in the form of Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-hour rule.”  Gladwell surmises that the key to success in any field, to a large extent, is a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of approximately 10,000 hours.  With that in mind, Kalczynski, a results-focused executive with a proven track record in successful operations management, commits each day to maintaining The Townsend’s traditions of unparalleled customer service and four-star experiences.

Prior to embarking on a career devoted to “unprecedented graciousness and thoughtful and personalized service,” Kalczynski completed his undergraduate work at Northeastern University in Boston, and earned his M.B.A. degree in international business and marketing from Rutgers University in New Jersey.