More than 20 restaurants open in the metroplex every week. Some make it and some don’t but, the passion of food from chefs to diners isn’t something that is going away. The public’s obsession with culinary creations is proven by all of the cooking shows and chef challenge events.
With the emergence of food trucks, food is more accessible to people. If you consider yourself a foodie, you don’t have to have culinary skills to work in Dallas’ food industry.
Doug Snyder, general manager at the Dallas Central Market (CM) Lovers Lane store, wears many hats. He’s a human resources manager, a purchasing and product manager and a teacher. He values his education and that of the partners (CM’s term for its employees) because they are able to utilize the basics of a college education to move forward in the industry.
Snyder acknowledges that not everybody that works for the company has a college degree. He has seen managers and directors who don’t have college degrees at Central Market, yet is a good learning environment if you put in the work.
“It is challenging, rewarding and ever-changing. Managers have grown into director roles and some have gone on to become buyers,” said Snyder. “Some people have retired and this is a part-time or second career for them. They just want to be more of a ‘foodie.’ We cross-train partners throughout the store; if you want to grow a career here, we have the resources to help you.”
Even if you are not a “people person,” you can still work in the food industry. The Central Market store employs 500 people to handle the 35,000 customers that shop in its store every week. Partners work in the bakery in the early morning hours before the store opens to provide fresh-baked goods. Plus, partners restock shelves, bins and install new displays.
Chefs’ Produce is a 24-hour, six-day-a-week distribution operation that provides a variety of fresh produce, nuts, spices and specialty foods to area restaurants, hotels and schools.
“Even though when we review resumes we do look for a culinary background, you don’t have to have been a chef. We look more for passion and respect of the food product; how it is handled and prepared,” said Mike Piorkowski, general manager at Chefs’ Produce.
“We are looking to hire reliable drivers,” said Richard Torres, owner of Chefs’ Produce. “They are the ones that our customers see on a regular basis delivering their orders. We also promote from within to foster personal growth of our employees.”
“You do have to put your time in,” said Piorkowski, about newly graduated culinary students. “You will not come out of school ready to make your debut on ‘Top Chef.’ “You have to be willing to work the line in a restaurant.”
Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com