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Creating Culinary Career Pathways through New Programs and Mentorship

Chefs are always learning. Just ask Jocelyn Perez.

Even with a culinary school degree, she has continued to look for opportunities to grow her skills and expand her culinary knowledge. When Morrison Healthcare offered her the chance to take part in a new education program with hands-on mentorship from experienced chefs, she jumped at it.

“What I loved most about Rouxbe is I learned so much,” said Jocelyn Perez. “I gained a lot of knowledge, not only about food but also about how to become a chef. It helped me better manage my time, re-learn fundamentals, and to have more patience to get excellent results.”

Perez works for Atrium Health’s Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. She recently completed Morrison Healthcare’s Rouxbe training program where she was mentored by Thomas Sewell, corporate executive chef for Morrison Healthcare.

“This program is about more than just cooking,” said Sewell. “It teaches associates what it takes to become a chef from a leadership and problem-solving perspective. I got involved with mentoring through the program so that we can find the next generation of leaders and superstars in the company.”

Rouxbe is an online culinary training platform available to all Morrison Healthcare accounts. This tool, used in professional kitchens around the world, allows teams to train without leaving the kitchen and learn everything from proper knife handling to cooking for health support in a quick and engaging way.

The program provides new pathways for career advancement by cross-training associates and teaching new skills, which can lead to increased patient satisfaction scores. It also has the added bonus for associates, who can receive college credit for completing the program.

“Many associates that are working in the kitchen may not have gone to culinary school,” said Shannon McFarland, Senior Director of Culinary Support for Morrison Healthcare. “Maybe they started as a dishwasher and moved up. Often, they don’t have the hands-on experience that comes from culinary school. That’s why it is important for us to invest in our people and give them opportunities to learn and grow.”

McFarland has overseen the launch of Rouxbe across the organization, but it started with 85 associates in the pilot program in 2021

“The initial launch of the program was a success,” said McFarland. “We have numerous stories of associates taking what they learned through Rouxbe and turning it into career growth. We will continue to improve the program and create an even better learning environment that can develop our culinary leaders.”

In 2022, Morrison Healthcare is taking the program to a regional level. 93 associates have entered the next Rouxbe class, which will last approximately a year and a half. Most of the work will be completed online, while an important portion of the skills-related work will be performed in a kitchen.

“Being a chef is a difficult job,” Sewell said. “Everyone is working really hard. These people are the backbone of our company and the hospitals we work with. Having learning and career pathways like this will help build better foodservice teams and growth opportunities for our associates.”

It has worked out for Jocelyn Perez. She was recently promoted to Sous Chef, in part, due to her commitment to learning through the Rouxbe program.

“When I graduated from Rouxbe it reminded me of that same feeling of accomplishment that I had when I graduated culinary school,” said Perez. “I’m excited to see what’s next for me and my career.”

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