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Employee Spotlight: Justin Centeno

Name: Justin Centeno
Snapchef Location: Providence Office
Date:  6.4.18
Position: Utility, Prep, Cook

What experience in your life led to you interested in food and cooking?

He does not do it just to do it. He does this to see the smile of his customers faces. He always accepts constructive criticism. He wants to know what he can do better to make sure the experience of the customer and the client is the best. He thinks it is better towards the end of the day because he knows he has accomplished something, “once you find your rhythm your untouchable.” This helps him be a leader. When new people come in it helps him guide them in the correct direction so everyone is on the same page even if he is tired.

Describe the moment when you decided that you wanted to pursue a career in the culinary field.

This was something different for Justin. “I enjoy new challenges.” He expected to just start out with utilities and stay there. This is where he felt the most comfortable. He didn’t want to do anything else. When working in the position sometimes he would have to find things to do. When you work hard things get done fast. Instead of standing around he would just start doing other task; washing walls, windows, helping the Chef make and try new recipes. Yet as he said earlier he enjoys challenges. Eventually he was put into a salad bar position at Salve Regina University; he helped them out before he went to his utilities position. This was a new challenge that he took on and succeeded at it.

What challenges have you faced – and what obstacles have you had to overcome – to purse your career in the culinary field?

One challenge he had was using the triple bay sink in a rush. Yet he never got discouraged or let anyone else feel that way. He is a motivator. One obstacle that he faced was working on the line and making everything from scratch. This was something he had not done before. This was when he worked a Sixflags in the ice cream shop. What made this harder was that not all the equipment was working. Not only did he have to make items from scratch and serve the customers but also keep people from getting upset by using his great customer service skills.

How have friends and family reacted to your career choice?

His friends and family likes his career choice. They gave him more confidence than he ever had. They were very interested in what he was doing. They always were very inquisitive in to what and where he was working. This was the first time he really felt his friends and family became this inquisitive. Snapchef also gave him some confidence in what he was doing. This career choice made him a better person. He never thought he would make it this far. This is why he always wants a challenge.” Living in this world you do not just get things you earn them, same with respect.” He always gives the upmost respect to those he works with. Even though he feels pain from working sometimes he knows everyone has their own problems and that is not an excuse to stop or give up.

What do you like most about working in a professional kitchen?

He likes the challenges the kitchen can provide. He also likes the creativity that is created in the kitchen. Being able to watch or help create an item or dish that will make a customer happy is something he enjoys. This is a passion that burns in him and the flames never go out.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Some of Justin’s comfort food is lengua, Sopa de mondongo, chuletas, arroz con leche and suero. This is something that he grew up with. His grandmother, Tolla made these dishes for him often. This is something he knows and loves.

What is your favorite thing about working at Snapchef?

Snapchef has character. Going to difference locations gives him experience. He learns something different every day. The experience and the networking. Meeting new people and learning different ways of doing things helps and is a good feeling.

What is your advice to those interested in pursuing a career in the culinary field?

“If this is what you want then you can do it. This is worth it. If you put your mind to it you can overcome these challenges.” Justin did not think he would make it this far as he stated before. Now he is doing things he only dreamed of. When working in job corps and a dorm wing leader taking care of a minimum of 65 guys he was looking after. He did more than his job title required of him and helped others with their jobs or trained them to do what they need to do. His dorm supervisor Mr. Sibley who he looked up to as a father once said “anyone who hires you will be lucky that you work for them. If there were 65 Justin’s in this faculty it would run smoothly.”

“I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude for having a staff member as hard working and professional as Justin. He regularly arrives at least an hour or two early and is prepared to begin his shift early. Often times the kitchen is happy to have him help with their prep before starting his utility shift. He has a great “team effort” and can do kind of attitude. He can follow directions and work independently with little supervision. He is trustworthy & honest.  ALL members of my team (cooks, Chef, front of house staff) love working with him. He has a great personality and is well like and respected.  He has worked on many of my shifts in a utility position but his capabilities are so wide ranging that I have begun to train him with some of my front of house staff. We always look forward to having him as part of our team on every shift he is able to work. He is the most requested staff person on my Catering shifts and has become an integral member of my team. Someone this talented will not stay in a positon like this very long but it is my hope that he will continue to grow as part of my team as I take great pride in helping hard working people like Justin expand their career opportunities. Thank you.”

Susan Pochon
Catering Manager
Sodexo Campus Services
Salve Regina University


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