YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – If you love to cook, there are many places you can work besides restaurants.
There’s a big reward that comes with cooking — making something that someone else will eat and enjoy. There are numerous opportunities for someone who wants to get into the industry, including jobs at places like Shepherd of the Valley.
“The cooks, primarily what they’re doing is producing the food for the residents, and that’s quality-checking as well as sticking with the recipes, tasting the food, which to me is number one. If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for the residents,” said Matt Bauman, dietary director at Shepherd of the Valley.
Bauman said preparing food for the assisted living and retirement community can be just as rewarding as working in a restaurant.
Bauman dreamed of becoming a TV star just like Emeril Lagasse. He had experience working at 5-star, 5-diamond property, as well as working long hours as an executive chef.
He experienced the exciting restaurant lifestyle and realized it came with big sacrifices and hours of hard work.
“Because I knew what the direction of lifestyle was in the restaurant business, I’d never done healthcare before, and as a restaurant chef, you’re working 12-, 14-, 16-hour days, seven days a week. Personal life is horrible,” he said.
Leaving the restaurant and finding a new place to cook didn’t mean that Bauman had to give up his big ideas. He still plans menus, creates meals which meet different dietary restrictions for the residents, and all of his cooking is from scratch.
“Healthcare facilities have this stigma to them as being this slop-cooking — this is just throwing a bunch of junk on a plate — that’s not the case anymore,” he said.
Healthcare is constantly changing and so too is the type of clients in places like Shepherd of the Valley. The Baby Boomers are just beginning to become residents, and that means the cooking has to become even better.
“The quality of food and plate presentation that we give to them is going to be higher in the next coming years, so this industry is going to require the mentality of a restaurant chef,” Bauman said.
Other places where cooks can be involved in non-restaurant settings include catering, marketing, food styling and even food media.
To research those careers and find job listings and places to study, go to OhioMeansJobs.com.