When Bon Appétiters Take Work Home with Us

When I leave my post as general manager at Oracle in Broomfield, CO, I sometimes bring a few things home with me: habits.

General Manager Derek Whitney with his daughters Maya and Maddie

General Manager Derek Whitney with his daughters Maya and Maddie

As I’m getting ready to make dinner, I clean and sanitize my work area. My wife makes fun of me. “Are you expecting a visit from the health department?” she asks with a smirk.

The joke can get old, but every day, I see examples of how my career influences how I behave in my personal life. Have you ever knocked before going through a door in public or exclaimed “Corner!” as you’re going around a blind spot at the grocery store? We can’t help it! It is a habit that is hard to turn off sometimes. It’s become so natural to me that I probably don’t even realize all the times I do it.

I have two little girls, ages 5 and 7. A couple of weeks ago, I was making dinner in the kitchen as they were playing and watching me. I accidentally dropped my knife and jumped a step back to avoid it.

“Daddy! What are you doing?” Without missing a beat, I launched into an explanation of what happened and why I reacted that way. I told them never to try to catch a falling knife: “Just let it fall, and we’ll clean it off.” A couple of minutes into my safety lecture, I realized I was basically training my kids as if we were in a 10@10 meeting! I had to laugh.

Some of us are new to food service, and some of us have been doing it for ages. We’ve adopted lots of habits, some for safety’s sake, some to be quicker, and some just because that’s the way we do it. I think we can agree that being on the inside of the counter has given us all a very different perspective on food and food service.

As for me, you can take the boy out of the kitchen, but you can’t take the kitchen out of the boy.

Submitted by Derek Whitney, General Manager