On Monday, April 27, 2020 the students were treated to a special guest for their Employment Class led by Katie, Lori, Bill, and Adrienne. This individual happens to be Matt who serves as the Executive Chef at the Marriott Albany. Matt was on hand to answer the prepared questions that one of our staff members, Lori gave him during the Zoom Conference. At the end of the class we allowed the students to ask him things on their mind.
One of the most important lessons that Matt emphasized is how critical it is to put one’s best foot forward during a job interview. He once had to deny employment to a young man who showed up for the interview wearing ripped jeans and a t-shirt. Even though it was only for a dishwashing job, it showed him that he was not serious about employment. Another man brought his child to the interview. Even though Matt loves children, this also was not a good sign for the future if someone could not get someone to watch the child during a 20-minute interview.
Matt emphasized that the kitchen is practically like a big family in in which people support each other and they have a good rapport. Everybody is expected to not only do their own job, but assist wherever they are needed. The complaint of, “Hey! That is not my job,” is not something that is ever uttered in the kitchen. Someone who maintains that particular attitude is going to find themselves without a job in the not-so-distant future.
One of the best pieces of his wisdom came when asked how he handles mistakes. Matt explained, “When there is a mistake it is up to you to fix it. Mistakes happen. It is possible that someone forgets to order something or did not order it early enough. The most important thing about making mistakes is owning up to it. Do not sweep it under the rug.” Matt recalled a humorous anecdote in which he forgot to order something that belonged on the customer’s dish. Therefore, he raced to Hannaford to get the food item to fix the problem and the customer did not even know what happened!
With the pandemic and the subsequent economic downfall, the Marriott is not currently operational and many of the kitchen staff have been laid off. But Matt is ensuring that employment will be waiting for the past employees when the affairs in our world calm down. As he said, they are like a family down at the Marriott and everybody looks out for one another!