Nancy Laird, who owns Restaurant Serenade in Chatham with her husband, has been named chairwoman of the board for the New Jersey Restaurant Association in 2014, the organization has announced.
Laird is the second woman to lead the 75-year-old state association, according to a news release.
The NJRA represents the more than 25,000 eating and drinking establishments in the state.
With a master’s in library science from Columbia University, Laird spent 11 years on Wall Street working for Morgan Stanley when she decided to pursue her dream of owning her own restaurant.
At age 37, she enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America and graduated with honors. She returned to Manhattan to work with renowned chef Gray Kunz at the St. Regis Hotel, where she met her future husband and talented sous chef, James Laird, the announcement says. They married in 1996 and, as partners, opened Restaurant Serenade in Chatham.
“Nancy brings her knowledge of both the front and back of house operations to the Association as we launch our new education series,” NJRA President Marilou Halvorsen said. “I am looking forward to working with such an accomplished woman and I’m confident she will make her mark on the NJRA."