I guess you can say I “fell into a food service career”. My ambitions and dreams were in math and science. I was going to be an electronic engineer and had prepared throughout high school by taking many independent study classes on the subject. My other love was sports…more particularly full contact sports. That was my entire high school…. train and study. Finally the day came when I needed to decide on a college. I chose Franklin and Marshall in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania. It had to be one that offered the things I was passionate about…. physics(engineering) and a spot on the football team. My life had become everything I had ever hoped for. However, after bouts of pneumonia and refusal to seek help my fast track program slowly began to fade away and eventually I surrendered to failure. I had no direction, broken dreams, no ambition, and needed something to change.
I was introduced to working in restaurants by friend of mine was on a career path to be a chef he had been working at Market Fare in Lancaster and the Chef needed help so he offered me a job. I thought what do I have to lose let’s give it a shot. My first day was a disaster I showed up in fluorescent orange shorts and flip flops. I was asked to use a large mixer to make salad dressing. No one informed me of the speeds on the fixer and it had been left on 4, the fastest setting. I coated the walls and myself multiple times sure that this was just a messy process. Months passed and I began to love the job. It was competitive, fast paced, you had to think all the time, and it involved somewhat of a social aspect. I still remember the distinct conversation the owner had with me after work one day about my career path. He encouraged me by telling me I was really good at this and to seek further knowledge. That was all I needed to continue down this path. Sadly, the restaurant was sold, and I continued to work for more and more talented chefs around the area. One of them being Greg Gable. Greg had worked for many years as chef de cuisine at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia. This man was talented and was highly respected and successful! I thought if I play my cards right, I can be like Greg.
This further encouragement of my new career led me to going to school at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY. Upon graduating I moved to Florida and worked for The Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida. What an eventful experience. 5 star and 5 diamond is no joke! I would work sometimes 115 hours a week in search of perfection. I survived this experience for about 1.5 years and walked away with a whole new outlook on professionalism, quality, and leadership. I then moved to Montauk, NY and had a blast using all my new tools in a more relaxed environment. While in Montauk, I took advantage of the market and purchased an old bed and breakfast in Marietta PA with dreams of utilizing it as such. I then interviewed with Kitchen Kettle Village on a recommendation from the same man who had encouraged me to make a career out of cheffing. I interviewed and was offered the position to run a whole restaurant. I was nervous! I only knew how to cook and people scared me. I eventually became very comfortable with being uncomfortable and reminded myself that change is necessary if growth is desired. Fast forward nine years later, and now I’ve been entrusted with care of all the food service operations. While I could have never imagined my path in life to take me here, I am so happy it has. I love working at Kitchen Kettle because it challenges me, every day is different, and we all have an opportunity to be an active participant with a culture that spreads happiness.
Check out our career opportunities: http://www.kitchenkettle.com/job-opportunities.asp