Sodexo’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

When it comes to diversity and inclusion in the business world, Sodexo USA leads the way. For the last six years, the Quality of Life Service company has placed in the top five of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity. That annual survey is conducted by DiversityInc., a web, social media and print publisher whose mission is to promote diversity in the workplace.

“I don’t think anyone is doing better than us. We make sure we always include everyone,” says Chef Sterling Smith, CEC.

“It’s a great company,” ADDS Chef Michael Kester, CEC, CCA, AAC.

Both men share Sodexo’s corporate commitment to diversity and participate in the company’s diversity and inclusion programs on both professional and personal levels.

Corporate chef of Sodexo HQ Culinary Innovation Center, Smith, who has been with the company for 21 years, manages and oversees the development of new menus and recipes for Sodexo clients. Working in the field, he is also culinary adviser to the external diversity team. That team works to enhance Sodexo’s relationships with the community. An example is its partnership with the National Urban League in Houston.

“We work with them to create a holistic approach to health and wellness in the African-American community,” Smith explains.

Sodexo also partners with clients to create similar programs of value to the community. These community partnerships are one way Sodexo works to improve communities while promoting its brand.

Kester, a 20-year Sodexo employee, is senior culinary development manager. His duties include responsibility for the training curriculum for new hires in the company’s health care division. That training has a diversity component to “make everyone aware of what we look for and how we respect diversity,” he says.

Diversity and inclusion training focuses on enhancing awareness and skill to positively impact behavior and share the company’s culture. Part of the training is the Spirit of Inclusion program. Conducted by Sodexo trainers as well as external consultants, it is a full-day, in-person, mandatory program for all managers and salaried employees.

That commitment to diversity is apparent in client operations where specific menus are developed for serving ethnic groups who may be hospital patients. A hospital in California, for example, has Vietnamese, Hispanic and Chinese menus.

Ethnic menus alone do not make for diversity. Sodexo also works with clients to help them develop diversity programs for their employees. The company also seeks diverse suppliers whose business practices mimic their own. Diversity and inclusion are inherent parts of the Sodexo culture.

“The use of diverse vendors and partners throughout the organization brings better value to our customers, clientele and the communities in which we live, work and serve. Not only is it part of our ‘DNA,’ but Sodexo also realizes that a strong supplier diversity program helps grow our business,” says Marianne Marseglia, manager, D&I projects.

Sodexo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion begins in the company’s headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and spreads throughout the world. It became a formal resolve in 2002. The program went global eight years later. Its purpose was to secure the best talent by reducing barriers to the recruitment, development, retention and promotion of women and people of color. In 2004, the company made a commitment to remove barriers related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

As part of the diversity and inclusion program, Sodexo supports nine Employee Business Resource Groups:

  • African American Leadership Forum
  • Honoring Our Nation’s Finest with Opportunity and Respect
  • Intergenerational Network Group
  • Native American and Aboriginal Council
  • Pan Asian Employee Network Group
  • People Respecting Individuality, Diversity and Equality
  • Sodexo Organization for disAbilities Resources
  • Sodexo Organization of Latinos
  • Women’s Network Group

 

These groups provide an opportunity for people to come together with others who share their culture. They sponsor various activities and provide opportunities to share workplace concerns and accomplishments. Both Smith and Kester participate in one or more of these groups.

Today, the diversity and inclusion program is part of the fabric of the company. It is a key business driver, expands business development opportunities and increases employee engagement. It helps the company build a diverse team that respects the differences that make each member unique. These differences include race, color, ethnicity, religion, age, physical and mental ability, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. The program clearly communicates and reinforces the goals of the team. This allows Sodexo to make the best use of the diverse talents of our work force.

By Suzanne Hall

Toques Off to ACF Northeast Region Competition Winners

Chefs and students from across the Northeast gathered at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Northeast Regional Culinary Salon to battle it out for ACF’s annual regional awards February 19-21 at Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Four competitions took place at the salon to determine who would receive ACF’s Northeast Region titles for Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Student Chef of the Year and Student Team Regional Championship.

The following ACF Northeast Region competition award winners will compete for their respective national titles at Cook. Craft. Create. Convention & Show, Phoenix, July 15-19.

ACF Northeast Region Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food SolutionsGary Davis Jr., of Cincinnati, is executive chef at Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, Cincinnati.

ACF Northeast Region Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá® European-Style ButterCher Harris, CEPC, of Palmyra, Pennsylvania, is executive pastry chef at The Hotel Hershey, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

ACF Northeast Region Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc.Denise Aguayo, of New Rochelle, New York, is a lab assistant at Monroe College, New Rochelle, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management.

ACF Northeast Region Student Team Championship, sponsored by Vitamix®ACF Long Island Chapter; students from Monroe College, New Rochelle, New York.

Team members Nicholas Giambrone, Erika Hernandez, Yudelka Torres, Dejanee Archbold and Hipolito Torres competed against four other teams for the title. Frank Costantino, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, and Eric Pellizzari, CEC, CCE, coached.

Thank you to all who participated in the 2016 ACF Northeast Regional Culinary Salon!

 

The Crossroad of Science and Food

Learn more about the culinary trend molecular gastronomy from ChefConnect: Atlanta presenter, David Campbell, CCC, CCE.

Why is this topic important for chefs/students/educators to know? How does it fit into current culinary trends? Why should they incorporate it into their current food service operations/classroom?

Molecular gastronomy is a part of culinary arts. Every restaurant, no matter how traditional, can benefit in some way by utilizing the available technology. Trendy techniques aside, chefs can improve consistency and save money by implementing some of these methods into their menus.

Why are you passionate about this topic?

My students come to school having seen molecular gastronomy on Iron Chef. While I agree that they need to master the fundamentals of cooking, I find that using molecular gastronomy and technology is a great hook. They are absolutely fascinated by the subject matter. The credibility gained by demonstrating modern techniques pays dividends when discussing more traditional techniques later.

What are different ways people can learn about your presentation topic outside of ChefConnect: Atlanta?

There are new books coming out every few months, and much can be learned from websites and blogs. In addition, there are professional development workshops available that can immerse you in the subject matter. To be honest though, you really need to jump in and start to play with some of the ingredients and tools. Molecular gastronomy should be part of every chef’s toolbox.

What are three things chefs are going to walk away knowing more about from your seminar? 

  • Attendees will become familiar with a variety of equipment, with an emphasis on low-cost options.
  • Attendees will learn how to implement molecular gastronomy into their curriculum.
  • Attendees will be able to demonstrate how technology can be used to provide consistency, improve flavor profiles and positively impact the bottom line.
  • Attendees will take away proven methods to get their students to embrace cooking as art, craft and science.

 

David G. Campbell - 121895David Campbell, CCC, CCE, is a chef instructor at the State University of New York at Cobleskill, where he teaches American Cuisine, Beverage Management, Advanced Food Production and Molecular Gastronomy. His areas of interest include beer, BBQ and charcuterie. In the fall of 2014, he was on sabbatical where he toured the North Carolina BBQ Trail. He was the 2013 Northeast Chef Educator of the Year and has degrees from Johnson & Wales University, University of Houston and University at Albany.

 

Congrats to ACF Western Region Competition Winners

Chefs and students from the West gathered at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Western Regional Culinary Salon to battle it out for ACF’s annual regional awards February 5-7 at The Academy of Arts, Careers & Technology, Reno, Nevada. Four competitions took place at the salon to determine who would receive ACF’s Western Region titles for Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Student Chef of the Year and Student Team Regional Championship.

The following ACF Western Region competition award winners will compete for their respective national titles at Cook. Craft. Create. Convention & Show, Phoenix, July 15-19.

ACF Western Region Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food SolutionsLenard Rubin, CEC, of Phoenix, is executive chef at The Country Club at DC Ranch, Scottsdale, Arizona.

ACF Western Region Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá® European-Style ButterAndrew Corrao, CCC, CEPC, of Salt Lake City, is banquet/pastry chef at Bambara Restaurant, Salt Lake City.

ACF Western Region Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc.Michelle Stephenson, of Provo, Utah, is a student at Utah Valley University (UVU), Orem, Utah, pursuing an associate degree in culinary arts. She is the night-shift kitchen lead at Station 22 Cafe, Provo.

ACF Western Region Student Team Championship, sponsored by Vitamix®ACF Bay Area Chefs Association of Oregon; students from Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, Coos Bay, Oregon.

Team members Kirsten Burt, Annie Sargent, Jasmine Howard, Tesia Campbell (captain), Alana Askew, Nathan Haritash (support) and Del Clark (support) competed against six other teams for the title. Randy Torres, CEC, AAC, coached.

Thank you to all competitors, judges and guests who attended!

Congrats to ACF Southeast Region Competition Winners

Chefs and students from the Southeast competed in the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Southeast Regional Culinary Salon for ACF’s annual regional awards Jan. 30-31 at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Tucker, Georgia. Four competitions took place at the salon to determine who would receive ACF’s Southeast Region titles for Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Student Chef of the Year and Student Team Regional Championship.

The following ACF Southeast Region competition award winners will compete for their respective national titles at Cook. Craft. Create. Convention & Show, Phoenix, July 15-19.

ACF Southeast Region Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions: Ted Polfelt, CEC, CCA, of Roanoke, Virginia, is executive chef at Jefferson Street Management Group, Roanoke, and a culinary instructor at Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke.

ACF Southeast Region Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá® European-Style Butter: Kelly Bellmore, CEPC, of Raleigh, North Carolina, is executive pastry chef at North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

ACF Southeast Region Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc.: Ruth Solis, of Gainesville, Georgia, is garde manger cook at Cherokee Town and Country Club, Atlanta.

ACF Southeast Region Student Team Championship, sponsored by Vitamix®: ACF North Carolina Chapter; students from Alamance Community College, Graham, North Carolina

Team members, Justin Brown (captain), Adriana Carreon, Evangeline Cruz, Trevor Slosek, and Johnathon Gonzalez-Cortez (alternate), competed against three other teams for the title. Brian Bailey, CCC, and Todd Wanless, CCC, coached.