Both Metro New York and national foodservice professionals are mourning the loss of Jay Silverstein. The long time SHFM member and head of foodservice at Credit Suisse First Boston was truly loved by everybody in the industry that ever met him.
The Queens, NY native attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where he met the love of his life and soulmate Kim Convicer. Just three months after meeting, they were engaged to be married. Jay Silverstein was a devoted husband, a wonderful father, a loving son, a caring brother, and a friend to all. He was the center of his family and was always there for anyone no matter what. He was always eager to host holiday and family meals, to lend a hand to fix anything, or to make someone laugh when needed. Jay spent his life devoted to many things but the most important were his family and his career in the food service industry.
Jay spent 30+ years of his career at Credit Suisse as their Vice President of Conference and Dining Services. He was responsible for food and conference service facilities for the America’s region and a pioneer in the creation of their employee restaurant.
Silverstein was also very involved in the hospitality and food service community. Jay stated that the pinnacle of his career was serving as the President for the Society for Hospitality and Food Service Management (SHFM) from 2002-2003. He described being on the board from 1999-2004 and then serving as president as a labor of love and an invaluable experience.
His passion and accomplishment for the industry was recognized on several occasions. He was honored by the association several times, including the Richard Ysmael Distinguished Service Award in 2010, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, the recipient of the Silver Plate Award in 2013, the 2018 Friend of the Foundation honoree, and the recipient of the 2018 President’s Award.
Jay ended his career, in a role he was so proud of, working for Compass Group as Senior Director of Quality Assurance for National Accounts utilizing his decades of expertise to make a lasting impact. “He was such a special individual who brought so much to so many,” noted longtime Compass executive Ron Ehrhardt.
Silverstein’s vision truly set the bar for the industry: “To watch someone start out working either as an hourly foodservice worker and progress onto a supervisory role or management, taking away some small thing that I taught them or worked beside them is just outstanding,” he explained upon accepting the Silver Plate award.
Silverstein often referenced his scouting experience as a child as integral to his career success. “Everything that I do is either based on past experience or what I have learned either formally or informally over the years. The foundation to everything I do is based on the Boy Scout motto of Be Prepared. If you prepare well and plan for what could go wrong, more often than not no matter what, you can push through.”
Jay is survived by his wife Kim Silverstein, his mother Sylvia Silverstein, his eldest son Corey and his wife Ashlee, his middle son Bradley and his wife Deanna, and his youngest son Sam. A memorial service was held at The American Hotel in Freehold, NJ and brought an overflow crowd to celebrate the life of one of the industry’s truly loved people. Jay’s management philosophy brought great admiration from his team and the vendor community.
“You have to earn respect not demand respect. I started in Foodservice as a dishwasher and worked just about every job front and back of house. I started at the bottom and worked my way up learning as I went. With this type of background and skill set, you can speak with hands on knowledge and people come to respect that.”
His industry friends are determined to make sure that Jay’s unique legacy continues. Sandy Smith of Party Rental, M. Tucker’s Marc Fuchs and Dan McCaffrey are supporting the family in the creation of the Jay B. Silverstein Scholarship Fund. “Our goal is to help students aspiring to make a difference in the foodservice industry in honor of Jay’s legacy,” Smith explained.
Donations can be made using the link:
Jay dedicated his life to making people happy through the use of food. His family would like everyone to remember Jay’s favorite words to live by, “Life is too short, eat dessert first!”