Name: Jonathan H.
Position: Lead Cook
Hotel: Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville
Dream destination: Australia, Ireland, Alaska or Hawaii — those are all on my bucket list
Drink or treat of choice: I like to treat myself to a Wagyu steak monthly
If there’s one thing Jonathan H. loves, it’s cooking for others.
“Creativity and passion are huge for me, I love being able to create recipes and dishes,” says Jonathan, the Lead Cook at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. “I’m passionate about the food that I put out to the guests.”
Prior to joining Marriott, Jonathan honed his culinary skills as a Sergeant in the US Army. When the former Army Cook left the miliary in 2009, he felt well equipped for his first civilian job: Cook 2 at the same hotel he’s working now.
Jonathan has since progressed to his current position, and he’s grateful that the 2,888-room hotel’s multiple cuisines and restaurants (casual, upscale, banquets, southern BBQ, Mexican, a steakhouse, a sports bar, an Irish pub) allow him to grow both his skills in menu development and experience in different types of kitchens. He even helped open and develop the menus for both the restaurant and food trucks inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort’s Upscale Water Experience, which opened in December 2018.
“It’s been great,” Jonathan says of his Marriott experience. “I’ve been able to grow as an employee, as a person and as a leader. I’ve also become a lot more active and social outside of work because of playing in sports leagues for the company teams.”
In addition to taking advantage of Marriott’s work perks, like recreation sports leagues, Jonathan is a big fan of the company’s benefits, including the associate travel discount.
“We have amazing health and retirement benefits,” says Jonathan. “I’ve also used the Explore Rate many times when visiting family or when family visits me.”
Learn more about what life looks like as a Marriott hotel cook, in Jonathan’s own words, below.
What’s surprised you most about working for Marriott?
Just how many different job opportunities and locations there are around the world, and how Marriott is always wanting its employees to succeed and advance further in their careers.
What’s one surprising thing about your role most people might not know?
I get to help other chefs create new menu ideas and recipes while bouncing ideas and flavor combinations off each other.
How does your typical workday start?
My workday starts at 8:00 am by unlocking coolers and turning equipment on and then conducting Pre-Shift to make sure all the associates in my area know what to expect for the day. I try to end pre-shift on a fun note, like a food pun or joke to get a laugh or a smile on everyone’s faces to start the shift.
What’s one thing you do to ensure you have a successful or productive day at work?
I make sure to drink a lot of water, and I make a list of everything I need to get done that day and mark it off as I finish it, that way I don’t forget anything. Also, I try to keep the associates in my area smiling and laughing as much as possible.
Who do you see first when you start your day?
Being in the military always taught me if I’m not early, then I’m late. With that mindset, I usually beat my boss (the chef) to work — so he’s the first person I see.
What does your lunch break look like?
With our lunch breaks we get a free employee meal (work perk!) from our employee café, which includes a main entrée and two sides, and then I’ll watch TV in the café, or just play around on my phone, while talking with the associates around me.
What’s communication like with your manager?
Communication is great. My chef and I are always bouncing ideas off each other and discussing things of importance that we or our associates need to know. Emails, texts, and other issues are all handled very quickly.
How does your day end?
Since we only have one 10-hour shift a day in the restaurant, the day ends by breaking everything down so that our stewarding department can finish washing all the dirty dishes, giving out any last-minute communication, and then locking up the coolers and freezers. Occasionally we check on other kitchens that stay open later to make sure they don’t need any extra help, and if they do we find volunteers to assist them.
What’s your favorite moment of the day?
My favorite part of the day is when we get comments about how great the food is and how much the guest enjoyed their meal.