Friday, July 13, 2012

A follow-up on the news

Our poster-vet gets a job. To put a face on the 200,000 potential job candidates who’ll be mustered out of military service this year, Restaurant Business focused on Rita DeSanno, whose 25 years of feeding Marines didn’t spare her from worries about finding a civilian foodservice job. Our point was that DeSanno, like her comrades in uniform, could be an outstanding hire for any foodservice operation.  Why weren’t you jumping at the opportunity? We even offered to put any interested employers in touch with DeSanno—an opportunity that drew e-mails (and outright job offers) from a number of you.

 But you were too late. DeSanno informed us Monday that Camp Lejeune, the big Marine base, had hired her as a civilian in its feeding operations. She’ll continue working with the Marine Corps Food Service Office while pursuing degrees in hospitality management and business administration.

In our opinion, it was your loss.

Happier still? Chef Eric Justice wasn’t unhappy with life as the head of R&D at Pei Wei Asian Diner. He just wasn’t happy enough, as he told us back in January. It wasn’t the job, he recalled in our cover story. It was his attitude—toward work, his family, his health, everything.

The story spelled out Justice’s re-invention of himself as a happier person, starting with an adjustment in how he related to everyone around him. He was so elated with the payback—the satisfaction that seemed to be missing from all his various roles—that he felt compelled to help others function in a healthier and more satisfying mode. Hence his address on happiness to the International Corporate Chefs Association, and his willingness to be completely forthcoming for our story.

We learned yesterday that Justice is directing his efforts toward the well-being of impoverished children. He and Shawn Davidson, managing director of Culinary Concepts Group, have teamed up on a non-profit endeavor called Chefs4kids, aiming to combat childhood hunger. The venture raised $20,000 to help fund an orphanage in Ethiopia, and more recently launched a food cart in Haiti.

Justice, it seems, remains fully charged about his two passions: Food, and helping others capture the happiness he’s achieved.

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