As a first-generation American of Italian descent, Connie was weaned on Chianti, Italian cuisine, and renaissance art. She grew up in her family’s famed Italian restaurant, “Casa D’Amore” and “The Villa Capri” in Hollywood, California, She went on to intern and manage in restaurants for 9 years in Switzerland where she honed her knowledge of food and wine and dabbled in water color, pencil, acrylic and oil while traveling to many famous art galleries of Europe.
Beginning in 1998, she opened and managed a succession of her own restaurants. “Laslow’s Broadway Bistro,” “Laslow’s Northwest” and “Malanga Cocina Cubana” quickly became established as benchmark eateries in Portland Oregon. “Laslow’s Northwest” was named one of “America’s Best Restaurants” by GOURMET magazine and THE OREGONIAN’S 2002 Restaurant of the Year. During this time, Connie traveled to Manhattan to represent Laslow’s at the James Beard House. She also further established herself in the industry by frequently judging at professional wine and food competitions. In 2003, she was touted by the OREGONIAN as having “...one of the Northwest’s best palates.”
Connie moved to Colorado to continue her food and beverage ventures. She developed and opened the unique concept of “TUTTI, a restaurant for everyone.” Then in 2012, after the successful sale of her first four restaurants, she developed curriculum for the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado. Soon thereafter she opened “Follow the Ruel,” a consulting, education, and specialty catering company.
In 2014 and 2016 she appeared on Food Network's “Guy’s Grocery Games” with Guy Fieri and “Chopped.”
Art has been a big part of her life from plate presentation (food art), painting in water color, acrylic and oil to simply taking in the talents of other artists around the world. Now she devotes her time to discovering her art on canvas, dabbling in many different mediums. She has had the honor to have the tutelage of great artists such as Robin D'Amore, Glen Villpu, Fred Wessel, Robin Cole, Susan Diehl, Shana Levenson, Johanna Harmon, Jeanne Hougen to name a few.