Hospital’s ‘menu line’ lady has a fan base

Sharon Brown recording the hospital’s Oyster’s Pearl menu.

Need a tantalizing menu that will suddenly make you feel hungry or maybe even happier?

Dial (985) 785-4286.

“Good morning, good morning, good morning,” says Sharon Brown in a recent recorded greeting. “It’s a little rainy, but believe it not, this will be the best day of your week.”

It’s the St. Charles Parish Hospital’s menu line, but don’t expect a boring list of menu items read by Brown.

Her greeting becomes a melodic, tantalizing presentation of the day’s menu items at the hospital’s Oyster’s Pearl restaurant. Those who know the restaurant don’t really need persuading about Chef Blaine Guillot’s lunch creations like grilled salmon, crawfish enchiladas, crawfish stuffed grilled chicken breast or seafood stuffed bell peppers.

They’re scrumptious and highly sought.

But Brown’s upbeat, welcoming presentation, which typically lasts about two minutes, has also generated fans.

“It’s just who I am,” cooed the hospital dietary aid who’s been with the hospital for 10 years. “I keep company on the phone and in person. I want it to feel personal.”

Brown started like others at the restaurant taking turns recording the day’s menu every other day, but her playful, conversational style made her some fans in the area who call just to hear her.

Guillot recalled how her status became known.

When Brown took a weeklong vacation, he got so many calls asking for her that he decided to give her the job full-time. Because he makes the menu, he didn’t typically listen to the phone menu, but the phone calls asking “Who’s the girl who does the menu line?” got his attention.

“Some people just call it to feel better,” Guillot said.

They may be picking up Brown’s welcoming vibe.

“I just kind of put myself in place of a personal conversation,” she said of when she records the menu. “It’s like the little things that are important to people.”

Her approach is “each one, reach one,” and that’s what Brown is contemplating as she records her positive message of tasty dishes and thoughts. “You can affect people by making their day. It’s kind of why I do it.”

But her voice carries 25 years experience as a caterer, as well as her father being a chef, too.

It showed in a commercial her boss made with Chef Emeril Lagasse, which resulted in her making the closing comment, “Don’t touch that dial.” It aired on the Food Network and other stations.

Brown’s comfort in the limelight may come from being among 11 children competing for attention.

“You tend to entertain mostly by telling stories,” she said. “It’s kind of like being at home, really. “I’d rather make someone laugh than sad, and it just makes me want to do it more.”

[pullquote]“It is re-experiencing the grace which was the impetus at the beginning.” — Sharon Brown[/pullquote]

So when the opportunity came to record the hospital’s lunch menu, Brown felt it. It was natural for her to say, “The BBQ is to die for,” and listeners believed it.

“I love it,” she said. “I feel that it’s the way to reach people.”

Guillot said Brown’s warm, welcoming personality extends to vising hospital patients, too. She delivers meals to their rooms and they love her.

Brown’s celebrity status has even extended to people asking her how this works behind the scenes with questions like, “Do you go home and practice the menu line.”

The answer is no.

“It just comes,” she said. “I never know exactly what I’m going to say, but many thoughts come with what’s on the menu.”

She likes recording on the fly to keep the mood spontaneous, adding, “There’s a lot rolling around in this head.”

Brown added, “I’m here so I might as well have fun while I’m here.”

Anyone who calls at Halloween may hear her playful, diabolical laughter along with a ghost voice announcing crab pasta is on the menu. At Christmas, she might break out in song with “Happy Holidays,” but it’s as much of a delightful surprise to her as it is to the caller.

She may include a weather report if it’s raining and how a caller need only grab an umbrella to avoid missing red beans and rice.

“I’m happy that something as small as the menu line can make a difference in a person’s day,” Brown said. “It’s the little things that matter the most, and to me that’s something like the menu line. It’s has a positive effect on people – and I love it.”

Sharon Brown’s cool vibe

  • Sharon Brown’s favorite greeting: “Good morning, good morning, good morning.”
  • Brown has fans who call just to listen to her read the menu.
  • One of 11 children, she believes her outgoing nature may be rooted in competing for attention.
  • Above all, Brown appreciates being able to make a difference in people’s lives.


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