Recruiting and Retaining the Best Chefs
Growing Organizations Grow Great People
Morrison Healthcare is a growing organization, hiring approximately 200 new chefs each year, so we always need to plan ahead. Whether it’s hiring chefs for their first assignment or promoting high performers to our senior ranks, our training and development programs are the key to our continued growth and future success.
Chef Michael Downie is a great example of how we develop chefs to expand our culinary talent base at Morrison.
Michael started his career with Compass Group in 2004. Fourteen years later, through hard work, education and a drive for excellence, he was promoted to Corporate Executive Chef in February, overseeing food service at 36 hospitals along the Gulf Coast.
After attending the Culinary Institute of America, Michael joined Morrison in 2011 as a Sous Chef at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia, where he learned the operational side of food service. His next stop was the Associate Director role at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he picked up purchasing, catering and the financial aspects of the job.
Michael continued his journey earning a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. He worked as a Senior Executive Chef at Carolinas Medical Center and a Regional Executive Chef at Oschner Medical Center in New Orleans before his promotion to Corporate Executive Chef. Along the way, he enrolled in ADAPT, a Compass leadership development program geared to developing multi-unit leaders.
How Is Career Development at Morrison Different for Chefs
What makes our career development approach different is our commitment to train and prepare people for promotion after they join Morrison. I’ve worked at other large foodservice companies, and all of them have solid training programs for people entering the organization, but that’s where it usually stops.
When we speak with candidates seeking to join Morrison, these programs become an incredibly strong recruiting tool. Candidates initially may have a variety of concerns about working here. Some don’t know if they want to work in a hospital, especially if they still think of hospital food as green Jell-O. Others fear they will have to sacrifice creativity and innovation and follow a regimented corporate structure.
We answer these concerns – and more. We tell them about the innovation and creativity abound in our catering and retail operations, including our micro-concepts and pop-up restaurants. We discuss how connecting with patients, using the Power of Food and how preparing a special meal for a patient can change families’ experiences during a rough time, giving meaning to their work.
Most importantly, we present Compass and Morrison as companies with opportunities for career growth that don’t require them to ever need to work anywhere else. When a person looks at their career path, he or she can see that we will help train them for their next job.
In addition, our chef training and development programs help us gain and attract new business. When we speak with hospital administrators who are prospective new clients, it’s part of our sales presentation. They see our commitment to providing the best possible food and nutrition experts in the business.
Continuing to Cultivate Great Culinary Talent
To develop and grow our culinary talent base, we have three primary strategies:
- Chef Development Plans and Culinary Certification
Certifications demonstrate our commitment to our Power of Food philosophy. Our internal certifications demonstrate our commitment to developing not only culinary expertise, but also leadership qualities in our chefs. We provide certifications to develop the knowledge of our culinary leaders through online modules, culinary competencies and experiential activities.
- Manager in Training (MIT)
The Manager in Training program enables us to restock our talent pool with recent graduates and frontline associates. Students and new graduates learn about the Power of Food and how we make a difference in patients’ lives. It provides us a chance to discuss how our chefs can have a fulfilling job with a better work-life balance than those working for restaurants outside of healthcare. And, for hourly supervisors, it provides a path for growth and advancement from hourly cooks to salaried Sous Chefs and beyond.
- Traveling Sous Chefs
Designed to prepare a person to become an Executive Chef, this program gives young chefs the opportunity to work at various hospitals. They learn how different hospitals and chefs work and build a network with corporate support and regional teams. By learning from multiple chefs in multiple environments that are union and non-union, big and small, our Traveling Sous Chefs are able to accelerate their development. These chefs are our firefighters – they help support new account openings and general culinary support at local accounts. To date, we have promoted 10 Sous Chefs to an Executive Chef position.
We’ve also had many success stories where chefs who love working in the kitchen leave their white chef coats at home to become Regional Managers, Regional Vice Presidents and more. If we want to retain our top chefs, it makes sense to engage and provide them with opportunities to develop and grow. It will keep Morrison Healthcare ahead of our competition and it’s a great way to retain and reward our talented people with a rewarding career.
Celebrating Our Chefs
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.
Join the Morrison Healthcare Family
Looking for meaningful work helping people? Do you want to marry your passions for the culinary industry and for 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.