Our team of dedicated specialists is ready to create a flawless event with the utmost attention to the smallest detail. We’re pleased to offer an extensive range of amenities and services as well as assisting in the complete planning of your event. As leaders and innovators in the event industry our team is second to none in experienced, professional and creative service.
To discuss how we can help you create an event unlike any other, please contact our sales team at 973-731-5600.
C. Lars Johnson, General Manager
Since 2002, Lars has, as general manager of Pleasantdale Château, created attractive concepts for brides and has maintained the high level of service offered by his team through decades of leadership experience in the hospitality industry.
He is recognized throughout the industry for maintaining Pleasantdale Château’s standard of excellence and has truly raised the bar in this field. Lars’ commitment to ensuring that every detail, no matter how small, is attended to, has been evident in the success of his clients’ events and celebrations.
Prior to managing the team at Pleasantdale Château, Lars has served as Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage for several premier hotels in New York City for a total of 32 years of hands-on experience.
Lars is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
“I’m always striving to work with the staff to create the memorable experience for each Chateau event. The challenge is to satisfy and exceed each guest’s unique requests and expectations.”
Fred Fogg, Director of Sales & Catering
With a long-established track record of creating one-of-a-kind events, Fred has dedicated his career to customizing each and every aspect of any wedding and special event of which he has been a part. His keen attention to detail in all event planning services is truly unparalleled, making him a Renaissance man in this industry. There is not a single piece of your party that Fred cannot handle exceptionally and with the precision of an individual who has dedicated his life to making your special day unforgettable.
While operating his own namesake event production company, Fred Fogg Productions, he organized a team of professional planners to provide comprehensive top-tier vendors, all of whom contribute to the exquisite, lavish, cutting-edge events for which he is known. In doing so, he would seek out exceptional, distinctive locations for his savvy clients, which led him to host events at the beautiful, Pleasantdale Chateau.
Fred brings with him a wide array of experience from cuisine to management, offering him, and subsequently his clients a complete insider’s perspective. As a former executive chef and culinary school instructor, there is nobody better to assist and offer insight in selecting the most incredible menu options for your event. Additionally, having served as Director of Sales and Operations at the Crystal Plaza wedding venue for over 20-years, Fred brings with him a wealth of experience overseeing and personally creating breathtakingly magical parties.
From vibrant flowers, to striking décor, to exceptional music and beyond, Fred is a crucial component in raising any event from ordinary to sublime.
Laura Madden, Senior Catering Sales Manager
Although a native of New Jersey, Laura’s career began when she moved to New Hampshire in 1993 to manage a professional disc jockey company, which led her to providing the music and master of ceremonies for weddings throughout New Hampshire.
In 2001, she accepted a position as Catering Sales Manager for a prestigious and high-end banquet and restaurant facility, managing and planning both corporate and wedding events.
In 2006, Laura moved back to New Jersey, where she was quickly hired as Director of Catering for the Hilton Hotel in Hasbrouck Heights, overseeing all catered events, including weddings. Wanting to return to a more family-owned environment, Laura was appointed to her current position in 2007 bringing her expertise to Pleasantdale Château. Since then, she has helped plan hundreds of weddings for appreciative and delighted brides and grooms.
Dawn Paradine-Weimmer, Executive Office and Catering Sales Manager
Dawn, a 2001 graduate of Monmouth University in New Jersey started her career as a Sales Assistant at The Hilton Hotel in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey assisting the Director of Sales as well as other various duties. In 2002, Dawn’s career took her to the Sheraton at Newark Airport as the Sales and Catering Assistant where she was quick to develop her expertise in the catering side of the business.
In late 2002, Dawn was given the opportunity to transition from hotel catering to the world of exclusive, private events at Pleasantdale Chateau where she has planned and implemented hundreds of corporate events from smaller breakfast meetings to large industry conferences to corporate holiday parties.
Santiago Sevilla, Maitre d’
Soon after obtaining his degree, Santiago was hand-selected by Maplewood Country Club where within six months was promoted to Maitre d’, overseeing both private dining and catered events. At age 19, Santiago was the youngest Maitre d’ in the history of Maplewood Country Club.
In 2004, Santiago wanted to broaden his horizons and attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he continued his education in Front of House Management and Excellent Service courses.
Seeking a high-end establishment that would benefit from his experience and education, Santiago found the Pleasantdale Château, where he accepted a position as a Banquet Captain. Quickly realizing his potential, just six months later, the management team at Pleasantdale Château promoted him to his current position of Maitre d’. Santiago’s passion for excellence in accommodating every request no matter how big or small, coupled with his charming personality, fits perfectly with the culture of the magnificent Pleasantdale Château.
Robert Albers, Executive Chef
As leader of the culinary staff at Pleasantdale Château, Chef Robert Albers brings to bear a lifetime of experience, all of which has helped to earn countless awards and recognitions for this unique venue. His culinary creations have wowed guests and consistently garnered rave reviews from amongst its sophisticated clientele. In his seven-year tenure at this West Orange, NJ landmark, he has helped to set Pleasantdale Château apart with standards of cuisine on par with the grandeur of the estate itself. Chef Albers was selected for this challenging position by the Knowles family, a three-generation team of restaurateurs, who across their diverse venues have established a reputation for being at the vanguard of fine dining.
During his tenure, Chef Albers’ contributions have also helped to consistently earn Pleasantdale Château an array of bridal industry honors year after year, including “Best of Weddings” from The Knot, “Best of the Year” from Manhattan Bride, and the “Love It” award from New Jersey Bride, as well as installation in The Knot’s coveted “Best of Weddings Hall of Fame.”
Before leading the kitchen at this historic estate, Chef Albers worked at The Ritz Carlton on Central Park where he was bestowed by this icon of luxury service with the “Department of the Year Award” for customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and most improved. Adding to his hotel credits, he has also served as Banquet Chef for The Mark Hotel and was a member of the well-respected culinary team at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Prior to pursuing his hotel experience, Chef Albers worked under Chef Troy Dupuy at the esteemed Lespinasse in Washington, DC. He later rejoined Chef Dupuy in Manhattan at the venerable landmark of French gastronomy, La Caravelle. His early restaurant experience also includes his work in pastry at 28 Restaurant in Montclair, NJ.
With a degree in philosophy from Washington College, Chef Albers also brings a unique insight to cooking and the experience of dining. An insight developed early, having spent time in a variety of kitchens, touring farms and seeking inspiration from Julia Child’s masterwork, The Art of French Cooking.
After attending graduate school at Catholic University, Chef Albers’ culinary career began in earnest when he accepted a position as a work-study student at Peter Kump’s Cooking School in Manhattan, established by its namesake, one of the most influential figures of the American food scene, a champion of French cuisine, and founder of the James Beard Foundation.
But Chef Albers can track his true passion for cooking back to his mother, Judy Albers, who enlisted her children’s support in coordinating family dinners. She soon realized his interest in the kitchen and encouraged his development—an encouragement that has carried him through to many career highlights, from cooking for celebrities and special guests to participating in dinners at the James Beard House. Chef Albers continues to bring his experience and passion for cooking to the kitchen of Pleasantdale Château, regularly producing dishes as memorable as the events for which they are created.
Jaycie Sluss, Farm & Grounds Manager
Jaycie Sluss, our Farm & Grounds Manager, is responsible for all aspects of the operation of our farm as well as the maintenance and beautification of our grounds throughout the entirety of the estate. It’s an all-consuming Herculean task which she takes on with great aplomb. With the help of her team, she ensures the fields are planted, tended and harvested, along with the multitude of other requirements of the job, whether in 100 degree temperatures or those below zero.
If you happen to drive through the grounds or stop by the farm when we’re not hosting an event, you’re likely to see Jaycie with a shovel or wheelbarrow in her hands, not just directing the work, but leading the way…and always doing so with a smile.
Continuing in the tradition of our past caretakers, Jaycie not only oversees the upkeep of the farm and the picture-perfect appearance of the grounds, but resides on the estate as well to keep an ever-present close watch on its care.