Article from servingcareers.com: INDUSTRY REALITY
In hospitality, language doesn’t need to be a barrier to success. If you have the ambition and drive to work hard and learn, you can launch a sustainable career. Just ask Angela Parada and Elvia Heiss, who are part of the culinary teams for Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels. The Greensboro-based company includes O.Henry Hotel and Proximity Hotel, Print Works Bistro, Green Valley Grill, and Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen.
Angela Parada, 19 years at Green Valley Grill
Parada used to walk by the O.Henry Hotel and Green Valley Grill and dream of working there. Her primary language is Spanish, and she says it was difficult getting hired there because her English wasn’t very good. But finally, with her third application, she was hired. She’s been at Green Valley Grill 19 years and is currently a key culinary team leader. She not only prepares meals and sauces, but she also teaches Quaintance-Weaver’s culinary standards to others.
Although she speaks English hesitantly, she excels in her job because of her work ethic and desire to learn. Through the years, her roles have included food prep, pantry, salads, pastry, and events. She’s taken advantage of the opportunities to grow and develop her career, she says.
“I love my job. The days that I’m not here, I want to be working. I want to be here all the time,” she says.
Elvia Heiss, 22 years at Print Works Bistro
Heiss, who’s been with the company for 22 years, is a key culinary team leader and helps develop recipes for new menus. She also lacked confidence in speaking English but has worked in many roles throughout the kitchen. She credits her chef for nurturing her development and encouraging her to create new recipes, she says.
“He is a person who trusts you and gives you the opportunity to grow no matter who you are,” she says.
Both women say their kitchens are diverse and welcoming to everyone. Their co-workers speak various languages, and they’ve learned about different food and cultures.
Quaintance-Weaver CEO Dennis Quaintance and Print Works Bistro and Green Valley Grill Executive Chef Jeffrey Barton say they seek employees with enthusiasm, focus, energy, and consistency. Most employees speak conversational English, and the company uses volunteer translators when needed.
According to the National Restaurant Association, 49% of restaurant and food service employees are minorities, and 25% percent are Hispanic. Hispanic workers represent the second-largest racial and ethnic group in major restaurant occupation categories. They make up:
- 24.7% of chefs
- 35.6% of cooks
- 26.8% of food prep and counter workers