Claudette’s Story

Claudette (left) with GM Guitterez and a co- worker.
It was 1960 at the Trader Vic’s on Cosmo Alley in downtown SanFrancisco when Claudette Lum first entered the scene as a “Hat Check” girl.“When I was hired by Trader Vic’s and new to the business, I thought I would last probably one year,” says Claudette today, some 53 years later.
Hired by The Trader himself, Claudette spent the next 35 years running the door as a hostess in San Francisco then on to Trader Vic’s Emeryville 18 years ago where she now works as head Maître ‘d. “I wore a custom made Chinese dress with 22 inch slits. The customers often called me “Lotus Blossom,” “Susie Wong,” and “Passion Flower.”
Claudette donning a custom made Chinese dress with 22” slits.
Throughout her tenure running the door she has met many celebrities such as: Debbie Reynolds, Bing Crosby, Marlon Brando, Barbra Streisand,Anthony Quinn, Phyllis Diller, Carol Channing, Ronald Reagan, EthelKennedy, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, and Pavarotti to name a few. “I love taking care of people and treating everyone like stars, whether they’re our good regulars or first timers. It’s all about the hospitality.
After a half-century working at Trader Vic’s she has seen it all! We may in the future get some juicy stories, but she is keeping a tight lip on them for now!
And to continue her story, we’ll let Claudette tell it herself. “So many of the customers always want to know what my personal life is. So here it goes: I am a cyclist, I ride 40 miles per week. I am a speed walker. I speed walk every day. My husband passed away seven years ago. After his passing, I was fortunate enough to meet Horst. He was the chef at TraderVic’s for 43 years before he retired. We are enjoying a very loving life. I have four children, 8 grandchildren, and 10 siblings. I was born in SanFrancisco and I am Native American and belong to the Coos Bay Tribe inOregon. I am also part French and Chinese. The Bergeron family has become my extended family.”
Claudette and former Trader Vic’s Chef Horst share a cocktail together.
From all of us here at Trader Vic’s, we’d like to give a big MAHALO to Claudette. You have truly made Trader Vic’s “Mai Tai Roa Ae!” for us and all of our guests.