How time flies! Eighteen years ago I took a leap of faith, joined Bon Appétit, moved to Philadelphia, and started a new chapter of my life. I still consider it one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I had always had a passion for great food, outstanding customer service, and treating associates with compassion and respect, but I had never found an organization that embodied all those basic tenets until I joined Bon Appétit.
I feel very blessed to work alongside some of the very best people in the business. Strangely enough, some of the most challenging circumstances bring out the absolute best in our folks. The war stories (particularly during openings) are legendary; but suffice it to say that the creativity, tenacity, dedication, and passion of our folks inspire me every day. Knowing that someone always has your back and that you are supported by some extraordinary people has always made even the most difficult challenges surmountable.
The sense of belonging and family is a basic part of the Bon Appétit ethos. The care and empathy exhibited during the tough times, both professionally and personally, has never wavered and may it always continue. Account openings, weddings, funerals, commencements, babies, sales proposals, illness, have all been a part of this crazy soup; and like any good soup in Bon Appétit, it is made with passion, love, and just a hint of “je ne sais quoi”! I am very proud of the growth of the company and more specifically the East Coast region. The late, great John Engstrom started the region with a handful of accounts. Over the years, we have worked hard to create our niche and represent the Bon Appétit brand as it exemplifies the best in the industry. Our clients are arguably some of the most prestigious institutions in the world; but they are all unique, and our promise to them to create customized cafés and programs echoes this uniqueness.
“I had always had a passion for great food, outstanding customer service, and treating associates with compassion and respect, but I had never found an organization that embodied all those basic tenets until I joined Bon Appétit.”
I’m proud of the many opportunities for growth and advancement that have been created with additional new business. So many stories of the grill cook becoming a controller, the catering supervisor becoming a general manager, the catering chef becoming a regional manager, all achieved through hard work, dedication, and the belief that an individual can make a difference.
During my time, Bon Appétit has grown in so many ways, and yet it still retains the core values of doing what’s right for our customers, our clients, and our associates. Whether pioneering the sustainability movement, promoting local sourcing, or introducing holistic wellness programs, Bon Appétit continues to be the industry leader setting the trends and the pace for all others. I’m so proud to be part of such a wonderful organization and look forward to the future with excitement and enthusiasm.