My interest in food started at an early age. My father attended a theological college that attracted a lot of international students who couldn’t travel home for the holidays, so they came to our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The savory aromas of many foods would fill the house when our family of four would often host up to 20 people.
I remember one dinner when I was eight or nine years old where a family from India shared a meal with us. It was the first time I had eaten anything other than traditional American fare – and my taste buds were awakened. We had homemade samosas, curries and the best of all was the papadum.
We were a family focused on service – we worked at food shelters and food drives – so it was natural to choose a foodservice career. Giving back and making people feel good with food are the absolute best feelings in the world.
I’m now 19 years into my culinary journey and I’ve been extremely fortunate to work in a variety of chef positions and learn from a long line of outstanding chefs. I’ve been with Morrison for six years and recently became the director for a 515-bed hospital.
Like many Morrison chefs, I cut my teeth working for several years at other restaurants. I was a Sous Chef at Bahama Breeze and the Executive Chef for Stony River Steakhouse in Louisville. But there was simply no way to get around working late nights and weekends at a restaurant, and the work-life balance here fits me well.
Providing food service in a hospital reminds me a lot of my experiences growing up, when my mother would make homemade pizza. We are truly a scratch kitchen – we buy fresh produce, roast our own meats and make our own sauces. And that shows up in our food quality.
The satisfaction of helping people in need is another important component of the job. When I make my rounds to speak with patients, they often tell me: “I can’t believe this is hospital food!” I smile and respond, “It’s not hospital food – it’s healthy food we make in a hospital.”
The Power of Food is very real. No matter how much medicine or therapy people take or receive, they won’t go home if they don’t eat properly. Foodservice plays an important role in the healing and wellness of our patients, their families and the employees.
For anyone considering a career as a chef or just starting out, here is some advice that I hope will help:
At my first job as a Sous Chef, I asked the Executive Chef to teach me how to do the inventory, ordering, scheduling and other jobs. It made me more confident and helped me develop my leadership skills.
My mother made homemade pizza, and I always picked it whenever I could choose a meal as a child. I enjoy getting on the grill and making steak, seafood and vegetables. But I don’t enjoy baking – I can’t even make sugar cookies.
I’m lucky – the Morrison Culinary team has guided me and invested in my future. Richard Lewis, my area’s Corporate Executive Chef, has given me several opportunities to demonstrate my skills at town hall meetings and other corporate events. Sahina Dizon, another one of our Corporate Executive Chefs, has given me insight on how women can prosper at our company.
Sahina and Cary Neff, Vice President of Corporate Culinary Support, encouraged me to take my current role even though I had little administrative experience. They told me I would learn the job – and they were right. My dream job is to become a Corporate Executive Chef and take my coaching, problem-solving and training talent on the road. I hope to use my current position to gain more knowledge of the financial side of the business and continue to grow so that I can achieve that goal.
The success of Morrison and Compass Group is founded on delicious food and the great people who make it. Compass Group is the world’s largest employer of chefs, making our culinary talent the Heart of the House.
This August we will celebrate Chef Appreciation Week (August 13-17) to recognize the incredible people behind the food. Join us in celebrating them by posting why you #LoveYourChef on social media.
Looking for meaningful work helping people? Do you want to marry your passions and serving others? Check out available team member or management opportunities to join the Compass One Healthcare and Morrison Healthcare family. We believe in the Power of Food to change lives and are proud of the opportunities we have each day to help people and serve alongside world-class clients.
Morrison is a proud part of Compass One Healthcare and Compass Group USA.