Food Unites Us and Chefs Inspire Us: Celebrating Chef Appreciation Week 2021
- by bonappetit
When Bon Appétit was founded in 1987, CEO Fedele Bauccio’s Dream was to create a company that empowered chefs to be in the driver’s seat.
Doing away with cycle menus and corporate recipes, Bon Appétit changed the industry by giving chefs the ability to source local ingredients from small farmers and makers and cook food from-scratch, creating small-batch meals customized to the specific tastes and dietary needs of their guests. This chef-centric culture is alive and well today, and our industry-changing culinary approach has led to over 1,000 cafés in 33 states.
This Chef Appreciation Week, we’re celebrating the people who put in long hours, going the extra mile to put a smile on a guest’s face, or coaching a team member through a challenging task. These are the chefs who do the hard work of carrying on the Bon Appétit Dream. While there are hundreds of Bon Appétit chefs who deserve recognition this week (and every week), we are proud to celebrate the following all-star culinarians who demonstrated their unique passion and have gone above and beyond despite the struggles brought on by this difficult year.
Scott Adams, Executive Chef, Seattle Cancer Care Center. As the Executive Chef at the Seattle Cancer Care Center’s Red Brick Bistro, Scott Adams has seen his fair share of challenges over the last year. As an essential service, the Seattle Cancer Care Center was open and steadily busy. On top of dealing with COVID-19 related service changes and styles, Scott and his team also managed through a planned renovation, switching to remote culinary operations to ensure that guests stayed fed. “Scott’s steady leadership and planning kept things well under control,” says District Manager Richard Stromire. “COVID brought on constant changes in service from our client, and Scott adapted quickly, staying creative in his menus and caring for the special needs of our cancer patients.” Throughout it all, Scott insists that the supporting members of his team deserve a lot of the praise: “There is no great chef without a great team.”
Chad Melinger, Campus Executive Chef, Butler University. From the moment Executive Chef Chad Melinger stepped onto campus at Butler University, he’s taken Bon Appétit’s from-scratch, local-first values very seriously.
Chad and his team lead their district in the amount of Farm to Fork ingredients they purchase (a whopping 25% of all spend). But in addition to going above and beyond when it comes to purchasing from local farmers, he’s also helped some make Butler a new market for their goods through some entrepreneurial thinking. Chefs prefer to use pre-cracked liquid eggs when batch-cooking for large groups, which wasn’t possible when Chad purchased local shell eggs. His solution? An on-site centrifuge that pre-cracks and homogenizes local eggs, giving the team more culinary flexibility and providing farmers, who would otherwise not have been able to sell their eggs to Butler, with an additional income stream.
“Chad’s passion for making great food is unstoppable,” says Regional Vice President Randy DeMers. “Chad has also been an innovator and entrepreneur at Butler,” adds District Manager Jason Rose. “Chad is always looking for ways to achieve efficiency in operations and enhance the overall student experience.”
In addition to his work supporting local farms, Chad relishes the day-to-day tasks of being a Bon Appétit chef: getting creative with ingredients and menus and working closely with his team. “Chad is extremely dedicated to the success of the people he mentors,” says Jason. “He is always looking for ways to help them be successful and grow with the company.”
Mayet Cristobal, Executive Chef, Disney Studios. Executive Chef Mayet Cristobal joined Bon Appétit straight out of culinary school, after an externship at an account in Northern California, and has never looked back. Now the Executive Chef at Disney Studios, Mayet has met the challenges of the year head on. Instead of shying away from the complexities that arose in trying to offer service during the pandemic, Mayet embraced them, holding safe, creative, and fun marketing events and pop-ups, while concocting lively food programs to keep guests, clients, and her team engaged and excited in the midst of so much uncertainty. “I admire Mayet’s can-do attitude,” says Regional Vice President Lori Flashner. “She pulls her team together, inspiring her team to achieve great results.”
In celebration of Chef Appreciation Week, Mayet shared two late-summer recipes with us, each inspired by treasured memories of food, family, and friends. We’re thrilled to share them with you, too.
Life’s a Peach: A Chef’s Juicy Memory of Discovering America (with recipes!)