hoosing a culinary career is a big decision. The No. 1 determination
of any successful employment should be job satisfaction, which is impossible to assess
until after a few weeks on the job. Even though you did due diligence to land what you
thought was the perfect position, you find yourself unsatisfied. It’s time to make a change.
Supermarkets are a growing segment in the employment of culinary professionals who are
finding meaningful work. “Working somewhere that allows you to be yourself, engaged in your
work and passionate about the things that mean the most to you are important deciding factors,”
says Daniel Kammeraad, retail talent acquisition, Publix Super Markets Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.
skills and experience
There’s not much difference between being a culinary professional in a hotel/restaurant and
in a supermarket. Qualified candidates need to have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of cooking
and baking to work in either environment. But supermarkets also require chefs to have a passion to
interact with customers and a desire to deliver top-quality customer service.
“I wouldn’t say there are any special skills needed,” says Joe McKenna, director of bakery
products, Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y. “But there are, obviously, differences when it
comes to the day-to-day work and different systems to learn.”
Carol Ann Kelly, beer and wine manager, H-E-B Markets, San Antonio, graduated from The
Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1999. After graduation, she worked as a food
stylist for a New York marketing and advertising firm. When the firm moved out of state, she
stayed in New York to work as a freelance food stylist. In 2009, she retired and moved to Texas.
A few years into retirement, Kelly began to work part time for H-E-B in its Cooking Connections kitchens. Within a year, she was promoted to oversee the wine and beer program at one store
and has since opened four additional stores. “My culinary background has been quite the asset for
my current position,” Kelly says. “And the transition from position to position and job to job has
“Most of my customers know that I’m a professionally trained chef, so more than just being
asked about wine and beer choices, I’m asked what would be the perfect wine or beer to pair with
an evening meal or for an upcoming cheese party.”
e t s , I n c . opposite: Some of wegmans Food markets’ Pennsylvania stores have full-service, sit-down restaurants. above left: at h-e-B markets, Carol ann Kelly continues to apply her culinary education in helping customers choose the prefect beverage to pair with meals. above, right: Publix’s aprons Cooking School program helps customers improve their cooking skills.