Back In the Kitchen with Michelle Whitney

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Swerver Sessions Episode 6: Back In the Kitchen

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Michelle Whitney knew at a young age that she wanted to be in the restaurant industry. After studying food service at a technical trade school on the East Coast, she enrolled in a culinary arts program to learn pastry. 🧑🏻‍🍳🍥

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One would think she’d go straight into the kitchen, but instead, she pursued a front of the house position at 3 star Michelin Quince in San Francisco. I was impressed with Michelle’s focus and drive, but moved even more by her humility and openness. 👩🏻✨

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The restaurant shutdown in March of 2020 cost her her serving position at hot spot Nopa, which brought on all the anxiety that comes with being unemployed, but Michelle applied the same level of resourcefulness she’s had throughout her career to finding new opportunities in the industry. From harvesting wine grapes in Oregon, to exploring the US in a van she customized for road travel with her partner, she’s now landed a pastry position at Ludvig’s Bistro, a charming sea to table restaurant in Sitka, Alaska. 🔪🥮


To connect with Michelle Whitney click here

To connect with Michael Biesemeyer click here


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Fun story on Michelle’s hospitality experience. I live in the Portland area and remember the fires and smoke that literally burned into the vineyard areas of Yamhill County within sight of Newberg, OR! AS with Michael… that van life was for kooks 20-years ago. Now it’s the dream job. I very much agree with your perspective that the food industry jobs go way beyond the stereotyped cook/server occupations. I like to use the analogy of the traveling tomato. Before that tomato landed on the plate in front of the Guest there were hundreds of steps (and different jobs) it took to get there. Farms with workers, equipment, farming supplies and related industries; supply & distribution industries to move that tomato. Food safety careers, refrigeration, cooking and storage career. Chemical, linen, smallware, glassware, cookware industries. Sound, computer tech, social media, lighting. entertainment system industries. And these are all before that tomato gets into your restaurant’s front door! AT that point… there’s another list of needs and jobs for the masses. :-)

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