Campus Sous Chef

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, Wash.

Age: 31

Best career advice you’ve been given:

Have a plan. It’s easy to get lost in this industry, floating from job to job looking for that next opportunity, that next great kitchen. Without an end game more descript than one day having your own place, a lot of cooks end up going nowhere with their skills.

What you excel at:

I’ve always been able to keep a level head when things start to get crazy. In kitchens, especially, things can spin out of control pretty quickly when the bus is moving and curveballs start coming in, and we’ve all known cooks and chefs who lose their cool under that pressure. It’s been rewarding to have always been told that when things get crazy and people start looking around, they’re often looking to me.

Biggest challenge you’ve overcome:

I’ve been living with Type 1 diabetes for 25 years. It’s not to say that any given decision in its regard is particularly hard, or that millions of other don’t live with it daily. When it’s affected by everything you do and becomes a part of every decision you make over the course of every day, it can really weigh you down. Starting out in this industry was a bit of a challenge. What you eat and how much of it, stress, exercise and hydration are all factors that influence your control as a diabetic, and in kitchens, they can be hard to predict and plan for from moment to moment.

Most valued trait in a workplace:

Aside from the creative challenges and professional integrity that most cooks tend to look for in their jobs, I look for places that recognize their employees as humans. In professional kitchens, it can be hard to find a job that meets all of those criteria. My current workplace definitely delivers on that. We have a team of leaders who all remain flexible to have each other’s backs to deliver on our goals as a whole.