Meet Jonathon Coon. He was sixteen when he needed an after school job. His father was one of the contact people for Creative Dining Services at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. He found out through the director that they needed help in the dish room. Soon after, Jonathon was washing all the dirty pots and pans.
He started as a dish washer but quickly moved to prep cook, line cook, and now sous chef. Jonathon feels like his dish room experience has helped him become a successful chef.
“Because I started in the dish room, I understood what it felt like to be one of the most under value people in the kitchen. From then on, I aimed to appreciate everyone on the kitchen team because not that long ago I was in the dish room washing dishes every shift. I know each person’s role and how hard they can be in the kitchen because I was in their shoes at some point in the last few years.”
Jonathon believes that the key to becoming a great chef has to do with knowledge, skill and humility.
“To me, there is no job in the kitchen that is beneath them. A chef is the leader yes, but they are also the most knowledgeable person who can step in and serve the cooks, dishwashers, and servers the best. They serve alongside the other cooks and they put in the most time at work to keep the kitchen running smoothly.”
Most chefs have a food philosophy – how they think about food and its role in our lives. For Jonathon, food is a source of nutrition.
“Yes, there is a time and place for comfort food, but I believe food should primarily be healthy. I want to feel energized after I eat to get back in the kitchen and make more food.”
Making healthy food and working hard has paid off for Johnathon at Creative Dining. He recently shared his gratitude for the company’s investment in his professional success.
“If you invest yourself in them, they invest themselves in you. I have worked in several other kitchens outside of Creative Dining accounts and they do not compare to Creative Dining when it comes to how much the company tries to take care of their employees. I have seen that everyone, even if they work in the dish room, can move up and is truly valued if they work hard and try to build one another up.”