Jonathan Ricks

HSBC's Jonathan Ricks’ personality enables him to bounce back from daily challenges very quickly.

Why Selected?

[Editor’s note: Ricks was nominated by John Gilbertson, certified executive chef, at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, S.D. After four years at the hospital as quality leader, Ricks went to HSBC in April.]

Gilbertson says: While Jonathan’s personality enables him to bounce back from daily challenges very quickly, he always does so in a manner that encourages others to join the cause and improve our patients’ or guests’ services. While he retains and shares technical knowledge quite well, he is naturally curious and understands that each day is a learning opportunity.

Details

Chef Manager, Sodexo, HSBC, Sioux Falls, SD
Age: 28
Education: Culinary degree from Mitchell Technical Culinary Institute in South Dakota

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Getting second place at the Taste of Elegance pork competition. It’s probably the hardest competition in the state. I’ve competed in the past and never ranked. It establishes you as a good chef.

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

To use your talent. John Gilbertson really helped me see my management potential. He said not to limit yourself and go where your heart is. He always said, [it makes me happy] when my chefs go and become head chefs somewhere else.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

Age. I’ve been turned down on a lot of jobs. They say I’m not experienced enough and I find that kind of ridiculous because being young doesn’t mean you’re inexperienced.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

My last day at Sanford when my boss and I talked. He let me know how proud he was of me and that really hit me. It was very rewarding to know that I met his expectations. He was a big influence on my life.

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

I just accomplished my goal; I got my own unit. I’d like to get more involved with education. I want to help the younger generation get developed.

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

I had been here maybe four days and I wanted to show the two ladies working for me that I’m a working chef, not an office chef. I decided to change the fryer. The grease trap had been sitting outside and it had water in the bottom. I didn’t realize it, so when I dropped in the hot grease, it hit the water and blew up out of the pan. I had grease all over the floor. I was trying to show off to these ladies that I was going to work hard and then that happened.

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

Some of the adolescent things that I did when I was 16 years old. I would call in just because I didn’t want to show up at work. I deal with that now. “Really, you’re calling in because your left toe hurts?” But I did the same thing.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Managing Your Business
umass amherst food

Restaurateurs in Amherst, Mass., aren’t happy with UMass Dining .

Registered dietitian Dianne Sutherland told local NBC affiliate WWLP News in May that the high quality of food served on campus means students aren’t visiting neighborhood eateries as frequently as those businesses might like.

“Even our vendors who we work with, they get complaints from the restaurants that students are staying on campus,” she said. “They are already paying for the food; why should they [go] off campus to eat?” More than 19,000 Amherst students are on a meal plan—6,000 of whom live off campus...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce eat dining

Forced to battle crumbling infrastructure and a constant churn of trends, sometimes the best way to save a foodservice operation is to change it entirely. As Steve Mangan, director of dining at the University of Michigan, puts it, “At some point when your building starts to fail, the cost of maintenance stands out.” But for operators with limited budgets, the challenge is discerning the right time to do so—and how far to take it.

At Jefferson High School, change came because little worked anymore. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, school’s cafeteria hadn’t been updated since 1957; students...

Managing Your Business
farmer produce

The seeds of farm-to-table 2.0 have officially blown into noncommercial foodservice. Since the movement has caught the attention of the segment during the past decade, operators have broadened agricultural collaborations outside of just supply. As a result, a new strain of the movement has been created that treats farms as allies in events, training and innovative growing systems.

The 500-bed Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., didn’t start out sourcing produce from local farms; instead, it administered its own growing programs, including an on-site garden and honeybee apiary...

FSD Resources