“The biggest lesson, one I have included in every orientation over the past 17 years, to all my young employees and people who may be new to the hospitality industry, is that the hospitality industry is a place where you can build a real career”, says Chad Welch, the Food and Beverage Director at Coterie Hudson Yards. “It isn’t just a stop on the way to somewhere else”.
Years before stepping foot in a commercial kitchen, Chad followed a very different path. While in the U.S. Navy and aboard the USS America aircraft carrier, Chad was prepared food for the executive officer and department heads in the wardroom.
“A career as a chef was not my plan,” Chad says. “It was after my time in the Navy, and after my first job in a restaurant, that I realized a career as a chef was in the cards. The hospitality industry is typically viewed as a pastime, or a stepping-stone, until you get a ‘real job.’ For me, it took precisely seven years before I even considered culinary school”, Chad says.
Formally trained at the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Chad has had the honor of creating meals for dignitaries in Spain, members of the French Parliament, sports figures, recording artists and film stars throughout his career.
Creativity in the Kitchen
“The big ones, salt, fat, acid and texture…I’ve been working hard to develop flavors outside of a traditional approach. When developing each menu item, Chad and his team look for different ways to expand on classic flavors and add complexity and depth to each dish. “I will use things like green olives and Kalamatas to add a briny-ness or saltiness to a dish rather than seasoning with salt. We do things like make fun purees out of root vegetables or aromatics to put on the base of a plate instead of a dressing,” Chad says.
Eventually, Chad’s creativity found its way to Atria, and he found a passion for serving older adults.
“I do not really differentiate between our residents and the population at large. I treat our residents as individuals and not a demographic,” he says. “Everybody has their personal likes and dislikes. The key to creating a dish that really pleases folks is getting to know their tastes. To be able to dig in and really understand what people are hoping for and expecting is really the key.”
Chad doesn’t let his drive to get to know each resident stop with just him. Instead, he goes to great lengths to make sure he supports his team, so that everyone can approach service in the same way.
“One of the things I really try to teach is to really get to know the person you are cooking for,” he says. “They may not necessarily understand food and preparation the same way a trained chef would, so it’s important to take what they are describing and deliver something even better.”
There is a place for you at Atria, too! Visit atriacareers.com now to search for your perfect fit.