Proudest career accomplishment in the past year:
We established student focus groups, where members of our menu operations team and myself meet with small groups of students across grade levels to gain feedback on new menu items. This gives us better insight into what students are interested in and is a great starting point for future menus. I am currently working on setting up this year’s focus groups with a new set of campuses as we begin developing next year’s menu.
Something you excel at over more seasoned employees:
My attention to technique. We are in the process of really trying to develop a culinary training program that would take our employees through the basics of cooking, such as mise en place, knife skills and presentation. Everyone here does an amazing job of making sure our serving lines look incredible and our food quality is consistent. I believe that with fine-tuning the basics and revisiting cooking fundamentals in our kitchens, we will only make the quality of our food that much better, which will elevate our customers’ experience.
Short- and long-term career goals:
During my time in student nutrition, I would really like to get a summer cooking camp started. It would be a program where students could learn cooking basics and about flavors, and maybe even take field trips to farmers markets or local farms to teach them about where their food comes from. Long term, I have always thought I would open my own business. I’d love to open a bakery that teaches classes for all ages about everything from confections to bread making.
Most valued trait in a workplace:
Creative support. Somewhere you can bounce around ideas that stray from the conventional without fear of overstepping. I am thankful every day for the opportunity to work with such talented and supportive people who think outside the box and challenge me to do the same.