Our Team is Our Family!
Todd Snopkowski, a pioneer in the food industry, has been leading the charge on workforce development, community building, sustainability and hunger alleviation for more than three decades. All of these personal priorities are present in every project that he’s involved with – most notably, Snapchef, which he founded in 2001 – and the 501c3 Snapchef Foundation, which he founded together with his wife Daniela in 2015.
The genesis of Snapchef was formed during Todd’s tenure as NE Regional Chef at the food service conglomerate Aramark, when we routinely had trouble finding qualified kitchen staff who had the right training and attitude. He was also profoundly influenced by his experience as Chef for The Olympic Village in Atlanta, 1996 – at which he led a team of 72 cooks which fed 15,000 athletes daily for two weeks. Through these experiences, Todd learned that creating win-win environments with a commitment to community would be the key ingredients for any successful enterprise.
Todd foresaw not just a solution to the acute shortage of trained temporary kitchen staff across the food service industry. He saw the opportunity to change lives – and change communities. Snapchef was not to be just an employment agency. Snapchef would be a holistic organization with a mission – dedicated to positive social impact by celebrating food as art and personal expression, sustenance, workforce development and community building.
Todd’s commitment to developing people – and supporting communities – has helped Snapchef grow to more than 1,400 employees. His unique “earn and learn” Fast Track culinary training method to get people started in the business has become a pioneering model of industry-sponsored workforce development.
Through his efforts, Snapchef increasingly collaborates with all levels of government and organizations to explore new ways to serve community members. Snapchef has received numerous awards for community entrepreneurship and continues to have a profound effect on the lives of its staff through job training and creation.
Todd holds a graduate certificate in Small Business Entrepreneurship from Boston University. In 2015, he was the recipient of the 2015 SBA Small Business Person of the Year Award for Massachusetts, as well as an Entrepreneurship Award with Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2016, Todd received the Interise Good Citizens Award for the positive impact that Snapchef has had in the communities in which it operates, and in 2017 he received the Massachusetts Restaurant Association Education Foundation Leadership Award.
As a company CFO and co-founder Daniela Snopkowski has been with Snapchef from the start, and is the driving force behind the company’s financial management and human resources functions. Daniela has managed the company’s financial growth and has developed from scratch the administrative procedures that Snapchef operates on today. Her unique approach to real time solutions and creative talents have taken her to create a state-of-the-art internal database that have optimized the day to day operations of the company and proven to be seamless for both staff and clients.
The secret of her success? Daniela is a hands on manager that is focused on perfecting the company’s systems for maximum efficiency. She began cultivating her business and entrepreneurial skills as a child. “I started working at my family’s business in Brazil at a very young age and was lucky to have my parents as role models not only in my personal life but also in the business aspect”, she says. By her teenage years she was versed in all areas of the business and ready for her next challenge.
After moving to the United States she joined the food service behemoth Aramark and Campus as a Catering Manager before earning her degree in Business Administration. Throughout the years she has attained the skills and knowledge she has today by her own efforts and ambition along with various business and management classes that have helped her lead Snapchef to new horizons.
When asked what she likes most about being part of building Snapchef, she says: “Making sure people have chances and opportunities to grow, and to go as far as they can go. That’s what makes this all so worthwhile.”
“Hi – I’m Cherise. I’ve been with Snapchef since 2011, and I’m responsible for maintaining office operations, procedures and payroll – which is no easy task considering how fast the company is growing!”
With her Internet research abilities and strong communication and management skills, Cherise keeps our entire staff in line and on our toes – with her ever-pleasant personality. She’s in contact with our clients providing reliable and professional accounts receivable management services. Cherise has an outstanding work ethic which make her an invaluable asset to the Snapchef team. Cherise received a bachelor’s degree from Worcester State and has over 10 years of customer service experience.
“My favorite thing about working at Snapchef is the family bond we have here,” she says. “It’s a nice feeling coming to work with not only co-workers, but people who are more like family and who care about you on a personal level as well as professional.”
Hi – my name is Ed Christian, and I’ve been with Snapchef since 2007. My favorite thing about working at Snapchef is helping to operate a successful business that also helps community folks find work and more.”
Ed earned his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University and post graduate degree in business from Harvard University. At the age of 25 he opened the award winning Papillion Gourmet Cafe in Brookline, MA. After that he served as general manager for Wyndham Hotels, Radisson Hotels and Director of Retail Operations for The Boston Convention and Expo Center.
Through his career Ed became increasingly dedicated to the concept of staff training as the key to team excellence. Certified to teach a handful of courses including ServSafe, Ed has helped develop Snapchef’s reputation for well-trained employees and as a training resource for our clients.
“Want to break into the culinary field? There’s lots of opportunity. You have to work with an eye to make it count by learning the trade,” he says. “To build a career, you have work your ass off. But if you love the business, you’ll love what you’re doing.”
Karl is a recognized global culinary leader, a passionate educator and WACS Global Master Chef. He’s a member of numerous boards and honor societies, including the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University, the American Academy of Chefs, the honorable Golden Toque, and the Chaîne De Rôtisseurs – where he serves as Judge for the International Jeunes Chefs Competition.
Karl has furthermore established himself as a keynote speaker, a judge at global culinary competitions and has served on the advising boards for Tyson Foods and Starbucks. He’s also been a staunch supporter and Board Member of At-Sunrise Global Chef Academy in Singapore.
Karl plays an active role Snapchef’s active Advisory Board. As Dean Emeritus of Culinary Development at Johnson & Wales University, Karl brings a lifetime of dedication and experience to expedite the Snapchef Mission: guide community members in a transformative process to unlock their potential and find meaningful and sustained work in the food service industry. “What I enjoy most about working with Snapchef is the chance to give back,” says Karl. “By helping with Snapchef’s curriculum development and training, I feel like I’m helping the next generation of chefs.”
Karl is helping immeasurably to further Snapchef’s commitment in job growth arenas such as the Massachusetts Workforce Development, the Division of Apprentice Training and New England Center for Arts and Technology. “From an early age I knew I wanted to be a chef – watching people enjoy my cooking. It was a love of both cooking and people,” says Karl. “My advice for anyone interested in a culinary career? If you have a passion for food and cooking – and love people and providing the pleasure of good cooking – then you’ll love being a chef.”
“I love helping people that are looking for a new career. Helping to teach news skills and then helping someone find a permeant job is really gratifying to me.”
Will has been a valued part of the Snapchef team since 2005, arriving with years of experience in a variety of food service arenas. “I spent most of my teen years in El Salvador – working in the five different kitchens that were part of my family’s amusement park. I then went to culinary school in California before coming to Boston.”
Will helped our growing company in any capacity he could; office management, working at locations and building our client base. In the early days, he was the only one who had extensive pastry experience. The Westin Copley was in need of a pastry chef and Will was quick to raise his hand for the assignment. Little did we know, his offer to help the Westin Copley turned into a seven plus year assignment for him. Snapchef was thrilled to be able to provide Will with this permanent, full-time opportunity.
Will kept in touch with us though, and a close eye on the growing Snapchef organization. He knew in his gut that he’d be back to work for Snapchef in some capacity. To our great pleasure, Will returned as our recruiting director, a critical role for the success of the organization. Will has a natural ability to connect with people and the gift of being a former “Snapchef” to share with his potential new hires. “Beyond helping people with their careers, I also love that I can work mornings and then be a father and a husband at home while working in the culinary industry,” says Will.
“Well . . . I’ve had quite a ride before arriving at Snapchef,” says Ken with a grin. “Let’s see . . . after completing culinary school at Johnson & Wales, I’ve worked as a chef aboard La Costa Resort’s private yacht, as a personal chef on Steve Wynn’s Golden Nugget corporate jets, and as executive chef and manager for private dining services at Palmer & Dodge Law Firm in Boston.”
Ken also has great experience in education. He served as Chef Instructor for the Boston Private Industry Council’s culinary internship program with Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. He is also a Food Accelerator Advisor and an Aquaponics Changemaker Fellowship Mentor for Social Enterprise Greenhouse in Providence, Rhode Island.
On the front-of-the-house side, Ken’s culinary business development initiatives include collaboration with entrepreneurs, business leaders, policymakers and social support partnerships to maximize community participation, health and wellness education and business venture success.
“My philosophy is to strengthen one’s impact through meaningful partnerships and a connection with the community. There’s no greater satisfaction than being part of organizations that do well and do good,” says Ken. “My advice to those interested in a culinary career? Be open to varied experiences and business environments and don’t let your perceptions define your opinion of food service operations.”
George remains more than understated about his global culinary footprint and his contributions to culinary education – and would rather talk about his efforts to help young culinarians succeed. While he probably would never mention much about his accomplishments, we’re all too happy to do so.
George is a Certified ACF Culinary Judge and a Certified Lead ACE Certification Evaluator. He’s taken Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals at the ACF Boston Food Show; numerous 1st and 2nd Prize Ribbons from the New York Food Show; and – most impressive of all – Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the IKA International Culinary Olympics in Germany. To “top it off,” George is also a member of the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque.
George holds both a B.S. and M.S. in Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University, where he was Associate Professor at the university’s College of Culinary Arts for more than 30 years, and actively involved with curriculum development. He was named 2004 Educator of the Year by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and was named the Federation’s National Chef of the Year in 1995.
Prior to joining JWU, George was owner and executive chef at G.A. O’Palenick Catering in Western NY. Currently, he is serving as Northeast Regional Vice President of the American Culinary Federation and has been an active member of the ACF Board of Directors for the last four years.
“As a culinary educator, one always looks for that ‘window of opportunity’ to pass your knowledge onto those who’ll follow,” says George. “Snapchef” has given me the perfect opportunity help others grow.”
Nick is not only a ‘snap’ in the kitchen and in the office, he’s also our tech/IT guru! In addition to his role as Senior Operations Manager at our Boston location, Nick also oversees all of Snapchef’s IT operations. He’s implemented innovative ways to track individual employee development as well as a variety of other unique operational systems.
We’re glad Nick decided to change course before embarking on a more traditional career route. “I was about to go to college for a business degree, but something just didn’t feel right, so I decided to take a year off after high school,” he says. “During that time, I kept thinking about my first job as a teenager at a deli. I loved it! My boss taught me a lot and it had really piqued my interest. I eventually chose to change course completely and go to culinary school.”
Nick received an associate degree in culinary arts, as well as his bachelor’s degree in food service management from Johnson & Wales University. Upon graduation he worked as a general manager with Eurest at Compass Group. Nick ran several operations including his tenure as director of dining services at MetLife in Warwick, RI.
“What I love most about working at Snapchef is that it is NEVER boring,” says Nick. “No day is the same, it really challenges me to use my creative thinking and problem-solving skills on a daily basis. I have to think outside the box constantly.”
Like so many others in our Snapchef family, Alejandro pursued other career paths before realizing that his love for food and cooking would drive his career. After career stints as an underwriter at SunLife Financial, and then in nursing, Alejandro decided to pursue his passion and secured a degree in Baking & Pastry arts from Le Cordon Bleu.
Maybe it was the short time he spent working on a food truck that put the idea of a career in the food service industry in the back of Alejandro’s mind: “The moment I decided that I wanted to pursue a culinary career was when I decided to put my nursing career on the back burner and pursue my love for cooking,” he says. “I always had the urge to put smiles on people’s faces and figured with my love of being a foodie, why not join the industry and serve great food and service.”
Alejandro’s experience in a variety of kitchens and a variety of roles prepared him for his management position with Snapchef. “Being in so many different kitchens gave me a great understanding of what it takes to be a great Snapchef employee,” he says. “It gives me a way to better interact and understand those who are in the field, which helps to build strong relationships.”
Kizzy had her “Ah-Ha” moment much earlier than most others, in her native Trinidad-Tobago, famous for its Creole cuisines. “From my earliest memories, I loved watching my mother cook, and her telling me about the unique flavors and traditions of our island cuisine,” she says.
“The moment I knew I wanted to pursue a culinary career was when I about 6 or 7 years old, going to watch my mother and aunts at a cooking class. I thought it was so cool. My dream was not just to cook food, but to teach culinary classes,” says Kizzy. “Well . . . here I am!”
Kizzy’s family decided to immigrate to the U. S. to pursue the American Dream, settling in Dorchester, MA. After completing school, she began to work in professional kitchens. Not only did Kizzy learn the skills that make her a seasoned professional chef, she also developed a deep understanding of how kitchens operate along with the knowledge of food production. Her ambition to gain an even stronger understanding of the overall food service industry pushed her to get a degree in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge, MA.
Upon graduation, Kizzy was asked to join the Norwegian cruise line where she worked her way up the kitchen ladder. She then became a chef at The Chart House restaurant.
In addition to assisting with recruitment and our Fast Track Culinary Training development, Kizzy is also the liaison to all Snapchef’s hospital clients, which is a growing part of our clientele. “I love working with different employees – seeing the joy on someone’s face when you help land a position for them,” says Kizzy. “I also really love teaching our culinary trainers something new.”
Keith came to Snapchef to look into the Culinary Arts. After graduating from the Snapchef Fast Track culinary program he began working with Snapchef’s team in Boston, under the guidance of our senior recruiter and Executive Chef trainer.
As a Snapchef entry level cook, Keith saw the business up-close from the culinary operations side. With Snapchef’s continued rapid growth came an explosion in Snapchef’s recruitment needs. Keith joined Chef Will to meet the demand and oversee our 24/7 recruitment efforts, quickly picking up Snapchef’s unique recruitment, as well as our on-boarding and training process.
Keith’s twenty years plus of managing businesses from rental centers to moving companies has allowed him to hit the floor running as part of our committed Snapchef team.
Carl also had his culinary “Ah-Ha” moment young in life. ““When I was young, visiting my uncle in Florida, he gave me some cash and told me to buy whatever food I wanted and to create him a meal he’d never forget,” says Karl. “I made him chicken parmesan. When he took the first bite, that was the moment I realized I wanted to have a career in hospitality.”
With his calling decided, Carl started as a cook at his uncle’s Italian restaurant. His passion for food led to his enrollment in culinary school. He graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an Associate degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Food Service Management. His studies there opened his eyes to the wide and varied world of professional food services.
Carl joined Snapchef and immediately earned his place as a trusted manager. His wide range of cooking experiences and knowledge made him very understanding of clients and employees alike – a perfect fit for Snapchef. Carl has an uncanny ability to evaluate an employee’s abilities and potential, as well as look at any food operation and understand its needs.
“My favorite thing about working at Snapchef is the ability to work with such a diverse group of professionals who have such a wide range of goals.”
Leanna has come to understand the food service world the old fashioned way – growing up working in her family’s restaurant, both front and back of the house. “I always enjoyed busy Friday nights in the kitchen. I loved the smell of sizzling pans and the feeling of a rush,” she says. “This was the first job that led on a career path. Looking back, this was the first four years of my culinary journey!”
Leanna brings her almost life-long experience in the food service industry to her role as Operation Manager of our Worcester office. Deciding to branch out, Leanna first began working in healthcare food services and gained an understanding of professional corporate kitchens. This made her an invaluable Snapchef manager who was able to jump into a range of client kitchen experiences.
As she began to understand Snapchef operations it soon became clear that she was extraordinary. Her ability to relate to fellow Snapchefs and our Snapchef clients – plus her love for cooking, eagerness to learn and commitment to excellence all make her a valuable addition to our management team.
“My advice to those interested in pursuing a culinary career? Be patient and start with something you love,” says Leanna. “If you’re just starting, I recommend buying a Betty Crocker cook book, as it’s a classic for a beginner in need of a quick reference. Or, you can come and learn with us at Snapchef!”
Like so many in our growing Snapchef family, Mohamed brings a wealth of global cultural experience – and a return to his passion for food after initially pursuing a more traditional career path.
Mohamed graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1995 from Alexandra University, in his home country of Egypt. After moving to the U.S. to pursue his career, he found himself missing his native cuisine and so he started cooking. Once he saw the pleasure he was able to provide to friends with his cooking, he instantly knew what he wanted to do with his life.
That epiphany led to a 22-year career before Mohamed joined our Snapchef family. After an extended corporate food service career with Sodexo EMC, Mohamed branched into the restaurant business to pursue his love of Italian cuisine. After working his way through the kitchen and into management at a family-owned Italian restaurant, he eventually purchased two Italian restaurants from the family and ran these for several years.
It was the busy, fast pace that gave Mohamed the drive to accomplish his early career goals. Today, his focus is more on teaching and coaching others to realize their career dreams in the food service industry, which aligns his career goals perfectly with those of Snapchef.
To say that education is a driving force in Naomi’s life is a major understatement. She holds three degrees and is pursuing two more! Naomi holds Associate degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking and & Pastry, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Food Service Management (with a minor in Sommelier) from Johnson & Wales University. In the next three years her goal is to attain a both a Master’s and Doctorate degree.
When Naomi was in high school she felt an affinity for the food service industry because of her passion for food, plating and even beverages. “I want to be a role model not only for my future children, but for anyone I can help develop a satisfying career in the food service industry.”
Naomi has experience in a variety of food service settings, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. She’s worked on the grill, flat top, desserts from scratch, and even customer service.
“My advice to those anyone interested in a culinary career? Make sure you truly love it,” she says. “You don’t want to wake up every morning and debate whether or not you should go to work because you just simply don’t like it. When you love what you do, it’s never really work.”
Jennifer comes to us via her incredible life journey around the globe. “My parents always had dinner parties in countries around the world, and one day I asked them if I could cook for their next party,” she says. “This particular dinner was in Uganda for 20 people that came from many different countries. Seeing our guests enjoying my cooking, I knew I want to be part of the culinary industry.”
Jennifer’s international culinary background perfectly balances academics with business. Having received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johnson & Wales, she’s worked in the university’s Culinary Events Department, at the five-star Peninsula Manila Hotel in the Philippines and at the Food and Nutrition Security with World Vision International.
Jennifer’s culinary expertise combined with business and organizational skills bode well for our office in Rhode Island. Her demonstrated capacity for organization and management, along with her dedication to our diverse employees in high pressure venues has led to the rapid expansion of the office.
“My favorite thing about working at Snapchef? I’d say it’s how we support and encourage individuals,” says Jennifer. “To see someone that needs a new chance in life and how we’re able to help them and see them get a permanent job and succeed is a really great feeling.”
Jennifer graduated from Worcester State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She has nine years of experience in the staffing industry focusing in the professional and clerical fields. Jennifer served as a Regional Manager for seven years, overseeing the daily operations of five offices in the Boston area. After raising her 3 children, Jennifer returned to the workforce in an IT department as a Business Development Coordinator, before joining the Snapchef team in our Holden office.
Meagan has always been an ambitious over-achiever. Her love of cooking started early in her life. The moment she realized she wanted to pursue a culinary career was around the age of fourteen. “I was working in a seafood restaurant in an open kitchen as a fry cook,” she explains. “I loved Friday nights there, and for me it never felt tedious. I learned so much and never left work defeated. I was lucky enough to develop a mentor who guided me towards a culinary future.”
Meagan graduated from the culinary program at Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford, MA fourth in her class in 2010. She subsequently received a Christan Herter scholarship to attend Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI.
During her time at Johnson & Wales, Meagan worked full time in New London, CT as a Sous Chef at Gaspars on Bank Street. She also made the Dean’s list several times. Upon graduating from Johnson & Wales in 2015 with her bachelor’s degree in Food Service Management, Culinary Capstone, and Arts Literature and Writing, she accepted a Sous Chef position at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center. At the age of 23 she was the youngest chef in the Hotel’s history.
Although Meagan loves cooking and being in the kitchen, her desire to mentor and guide others in their career paths is now being fully realized as an Operations Manager of our Springfield office. “My favorite thing about working at Snpachef is the people,” she continues. “I love meeting new employees and watching them hone their kitchen skills. Being able to assist in other people’s journey s is not only great for Snapchef, it’s personally rewarding as well.”