Partners in the Sublime
To understand the secret to the restaurants’ success, before you even sit down to the food and wine to be carried away to another world, you need to go no further than to appreciate Pascal’s and Schott’s personalities, their personal and professional relationship with each other, and with others, and the philosophy that governs their approach to fine dining. These things inform every last detail of Stage Left and Catherine Lombardi, from the preparation of the butter-poached gulf shrimp to the proper folding of the last cloth napkin.
For starts, their differences, they say, are their strengths. Pascal is a pack rat; Schott loathes clutter. One is married with four children; the other has a girlfriend in Manhattan. Pascal is full of big ideas; Schott fusses over the details of them. One is a numbers guy, a logistics savant; the other is a marketing wiz, with a bent for the written word. When they are in each other’s company, their repartee is infectious, engulfing everybody in the room. Each knows what the other is thinking before he thinks it, and they tease each other with little mercy. A day isn’t right if they haven’t had a bunch of laughs between them. And Pascal and Schott might be the only executives who have rare, unopened bottles of wine and spirits arrayed on their office desks.
But, running through their relationship is a deep tributary of mutual respect formed through years of working together, an admiration of the other’s talents, and a fealty to their code of conduct. “I’d say we share a sense of fairness, honesty, and loyalty,” says Schott. “Our trust in each other is complete. And we want an atmosphere of mutual respect, of clear communication, in all our relationships. We strive to create that every day among our 65 employees. That’s the environment we want, from the dishwasher to the last purveyor whom we do business with.”