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Management Team

Our Management Team

“The more you prepare beforehand, the more relaxed and creative and effective you’ll be when it counts.”

– Bill Parcells

Aaron Rainone
General Manager

Aaron joined the Flik team in October 2016 as the General Manager, bringing 10 years of Events and Food & Beverage experience. Prior to joining Flik, Aaron was the General Manager for the Norris Conference Center in Austin, Texas and the Director of Banquets for the Westin Austin at the Domain. Aaron graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a Bachelors in Sports, Entertainment and Event Management. A native of New Jersey, Aaron relocated to Austin, Texas in 2008. He married his wife Tara in 2012, and their daughter Averie was born in 2014.

Kurt Sippel
Executive Chef

Chef Kurt Sippel was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Chef Kurt attended New York City Technical College and graduated with an AAS in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1987. His first job out of school was at the Essex House Central Park as a night time Line Cook. He moved on to work at the Larchmont Yacht Club as Garde Manger/Pastry Chef, a PM Sous Chef at the Shearson Lehman Executive Dining, and worked at Donald Sacks Restaurant as the Executive Chef until September 11, 2001. Chef Kurt opened his own restaurant from 2003-2011 called Downtown Atlantic in Downtown Brooklyn. Before working at HCCC, he was Chef de Cuisine at Columbia University and a Banquet Chef at the Crowne Plaza Time Square.

Karen MacLaughlin
Sales Manager

Karen joined the Flik team at HCCC in May. She has been in the restaurant business since the age of 14 with a background in management and fine dining. She is a graduate of Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County, as well as Rutgers University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree from the School of Management and Labor Relations. At the age of 23, she became the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Brookdale where she held that position for 10 years. She was also the Vice President of Women’s Tennis for the NJCAA while at Brookdale. Naturally, with a background in hospitality along with her experience at Brookdale, she combined those two and is now running events at HCCC. She grew up in Wall, NJ and resides there today.

Jackie Washington
Conference Coordinator

Jackie always loved to cook but she never imagined that it would be a part of her profession. As a child, while watching her father and grandmother in the kitchen, it inspired her to gain a love for culinary arts, which increased her love for Southern and Soul cuisine. Despite her going into different areas of employment, she never stopped being creative with food and would occasionally cater family and friends events. It wasn’t until she landed a job at a financial firm that increased her desire to follow her dream, which lead her to enroll in Hudson County Community College/Culinary Arts Institute. While still attending HCCC, she started her first job in the back of the house as a Prep/Line cook with Eurest, of Compass Group. It allowed her to perfect her knife skills and use the talents she learned to excel at her trade. After graduation, she would then embark on a new career in hospitality with FLIK, another sector within Compass Group, which allowed her to utilize her customer service experience and catering abilities to good use. She would also go on to work and volunteer for other corporations while remaining with FLIK to gain more knowledge of the culinary industry. Having dual knowledge in both areas of culinary and hospitality, it has manifested in her that this is the career she was meant to be a part of.

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