“Even if they don’t try the food, it’s so great to see hotel guests taking pictures of the food platters. It makes us all so happy!”

How would you describe a work hero? From a team member who picks up a little extra slack for you when you need it, to a manager in another department who acts as a mentor, a work hero makes the work day that much easier and more enjoyable.

As a Garde Manger (French for “keeper of the food”), Kelly is the person behind the delectable cheese platters, fresh salad bar, impeccably-arranged fruit, and perfectly-portioned hors d’œuvres in the restaurant at San Francisco’s Parc 55 hotel. We spoke with Kelly about her role on the Parc 55 hotel kitchen team, her passion for providing hotel guests with healthy meal options, and how Executive Chef Mary inspires her each and every day.

What’s your position here?
I began working in the Parc 55 kitchen pantry. I did that for about four years, and then moved to working the hall banquet, or garde manger. I love working the garde manger! When I hear the hotel guests saying they love the food, or that it looks beautifully presented, that’s so rewarding.

How long have you worked here at Parc 55?

I have been here for a total of seven years.

What does the prep for the garde manger look like?

We arrange and decorate all of the garde manger food platters. It’s important that it’s colorful, and full, so that it looks good. We think guests are more likely to try the food if it looks so appetizing!

Food presentation is definitely an art! Do you have a favorite meal to prepare and present?

I create the cheese platters and the salad bar. I always make the food very healthy; healthy food is important. Breakfast is such an important part of your day because it gives you energy. Mary [Executive Chef] encourages this too and is a very good leader. She is the third executive chef I have worked with here at the Parc 55 kitchen, and she is my favorite! She leads a very organized kitchen. She listens to us and cares about our feedback.

How are your ideas supported here? Is there anything notable about the leadership style you would like to share?
When Mary sees we are not busy she will give us the opportunity to taste items from the menu.

What does a typical day look like here for you?

Always busy! I start with taking care of the breakfast items. It depends on how busy the hotel is, but I sometimes stay to help with the dinner prep as well.

What’s the best part of your job?

Even if they don’t try the food, it’s so great to see hotel guests taking pictures of the food platters. It makes us all so happy! Also, the schedule here is flexible, and is great if you have to take care of family. I work on 8am — 4pm shift, and live with my family and two kids.

There are 20 people on the kitchen team. It’s like a big family here. Everyone pitches in to help find solutions to problems. It’s a fast-paced job.

Is there anyone on the team that particularly inspires you?
Chef Mary is always my biggest inspiration. She changed all of the menus to be more healthy. She also coaches us and provides tips on how to improve processes, like cleaning and safety practices. I do my best in my position, and if the customer likes the food and tells others about it, I know I’m doing well!

Hopefully Kelly’s story got the wheels turning on who might be a Work Hero in your life! Share your story on social media and tag your post with #workhero to make sure you’re in the running to be featured right here on the Beekeeper Work Hero blog.

Alternatively, your Work Hero story might be so good it should be entered into Beekeeper’s 2018 Work Hero Award. Three #workhero finalists will be chosen from submitted entries in Fall 2018 by the world and celebrated with a party and prizes!