Confessions of Mark Freeman

Mark Freeman would like to meet Walt Disney and hates food trucks.
Silver Plate winner Mark Freeman, senior manager of global employee services at Microsoft in Redmond, Calif., would rather be sailing, fears dancing and would like to dine with Walt Disney.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

Each day is never the same as the next or last. This is what gets me up in the morning every day. Our industry is exciting and so diverse that you never get bored.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

Not having enough time to dream. It seems like there is so much going on every day that there isn’t time to think up what will be the next innovation.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Helping to raise my kids to be outstanding members of society.

Q. What is the most unusual foodservice/catering request you have ever received?

Barbeque for 10,000 people, “next week and we don’t want the normal hot dogs, beans and hamburgers. We want stir-fry, steaks and corn on the cob.”

Q. If you weren't in foodservice what would you be doing?

Sailing, preferably where the sun shines all the time.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

First, I wish I had a talent for playing a musical instrument. Second, I admire the passion it takes to be a chef. They really can do magic with their talent, and I wish I had the time, ability and patience to participate in that craft.

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I could be more patient. Whenever I get an idea in my head I just want to get it done and then move on to the next thing.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

Dancing.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

Nelson Mandela and Mohammad Ali for enduring the hardship of sticking to their convictions.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Going to a new Seattle restaurant every week to taste the good the bad and the ugly.
 

Q. What will people always find in your refrigerator?

Hummus, carrots and Greek yogurt (I’m on a diet now).

Q. What food fad do you wish had never started?

Food trucks. Maybe it’s an age thing but I grew up in the food industry where a food truck was called a “roach coach” and I think the current trend is just trying to mask that a bit.

Q. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Conch fritters in Belize.

Q. Read the book or see the movie?

Read the book.

Q. Are you a morning or evening person?

Morning.

Q. What are your words to live by?

Live each day fully and enjoy life.

Q. If you had a time machine what historical event or era would you visit?

I think I would go back to the times of the sailing explorers. They never knew what to expect around the next corner. I especially would have wanted to have been on George Vancouver’s search party of Puget Sound. It is so beautiful out there and has so many unknowns.
 

Q. What do you value most in a friend?

Accepting me as I am and not trying to make me something I’m not.
 

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

Sailing in the Caribbean on a 55-foot monohull sailboat with a sail full of wind and the sun warming the blue water enough for swimming when we get to a deserted island.
 

Q. If you could eat dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

Walt Disney. He was such a forward thinker and I would have loved to hear more about his dreams.
 

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

A ceramic bee that was given to me by my grandmother. It sat on her table and always had honey in it. I remember always sticking my finger in the honey when I visited.
 

Q. What activity is at the top of your bucket list?

Sailing in the Marquesas Islands.
 

Q. Who is your favorite celebrity chef?

Anthony Bourdain.
 

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
muse school produce

Kayla Webb, executive chef at Muse School, has transitioned the private K-12 day school in Calabasas, Calif., to an entirely vegan menu over a three-year period. Webb talks about her menuing, and how the school’s kitchen earned the title of “greenest restaurant in the world” from the Green Restaurant Association.

Q: How did you help parents get used to the idea of an all plant-based diet?

A: The first year, we didn’t announce it. We were just serving one plant-based meal a week, so it wasn’t that drastic. We do monthly Muse Talks where we invite different speakers to our school to...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce dirt

Savor at McCormick Place developed the Green Thumb brand for menu items and products featuring its rooftop bounty; the latest is a pale ale made with the first crop of hops grown on the roof. Promoting that branding and the convention center’s green certification has brought in business from groups with a sustainability focus.

Ideas and Innovation
business pamphlet fair show

As we struggle to recruit and retain millennials, we had our current millennial employees invite friends who don’t work for our organization to a Q&A session where we find out why our organization is or isn’t appealing to them, and what they are looking for in an employer. I recommend doing this off-site in a casual environment so you can get honest and open feedback that could be useful for better marketing.

Menu Development
pho bowl

Achieving authenticity can be tricky. Late last year, Oberlin College landed in the news when students protested the way dining services at the Ohio school was botching ethnic food, serving up inauthentic versions of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a challenge other operators are confronting, too, often tapping staff and patrons for inspiration.

At 260-bed Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite, Executive Chef Bradley Czajka, himself of Polish-Ukrainian descent, started Global Stations as a way to recognize the diversity of cultures at the hospital. “We have such an...

FSD Resources