As a first generation American of Italian descent, Connie was weaned on Chianti and Italian Cuisine. She grew up in her family's famed Italian restaurants, "Casa D'Amore" and "The Villa Capri," in Hollywood, California which kindled her passion for the restaurant industry. For nine years she interned and managed at restaurants in Switzerland where she honed her knowledge of food and wine. After returning to the U.S., she oversaw many successful restaurants and hotels in the Pacific Northwest.
Driven by her passion for wine, Connie took a position as Hospitality Director at "Sokol Blosser Winery" an innovator and pioneer in the Red Hills of Oregon's Yamhill County, known for its Pinot Noir. She appeared as speaker at wine festivals throughout the U.S. and educated hospitality students at the Mount Hood Community College.
Beginning in 1998, she opened and managed a sucession of her own restaurants. "Laslow's Broadway Bistro," "Laslow's Northwest" and "Malanga Cocina Cubana" quickly became 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" and in 2014 she appeared as a contestant on Food Network's "Guy's Grocery Games" and "Chopped" in 2016.
Connie moved to Colorado in 2005 to continue her food and beverage ventures. She developed and opened the unique concept of "TUTTI a restaurant for everyone." By 2012, after the successful sale of all her restaurants, she developed curriculum for the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to teaching the art of wine and food to the home cook and the professional, to broaden her exposure to pastry arts, she established "Cakes Ruel." And finally, with "Follow the Ruel," private chef company, she uses her decades of experience to enhance the lives of the people around her.