Union Square Hospitality Group, group photo

GOSO Visits Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group

guys speak to restaurant professionals

GOSO Participants, Giovany (left) and Kevin (right) react to a funny anecdote told by one of the panelists. Both have worked in the food and service industries and were interested to hear from the group.

A goal here at GOSO is to ensure our participants are being connected to new ideas and diverse opportunities. Challenging participants to dive deeper into their passions and think about the future is a crucial part of our work, and employment is one area that benefits from this exercise. Providing participants with job opportunities is just one of the first steps down the path of long-term success. Job placements can lead to careers, and through our program each participant should see the possibility to pursue a career they are passionate about.

One way to foster these goals is to introduce them to professionals working in their fields of interest. Last month, we visited the offices of Union Square Hospitality Group to learn more about the diverse array of careers in the food industry. Working in the industry means different things to different people — one might be a chef, restaurant manager, line cook, or even a social media manager. It’s important to us that participants interested in pursuing a career in this field open their minds to the full array of options, which is both a helpful and motivating practice.

USQHG helped expose our guys to the full breadth of opportunities in the industry by organizing a panel of exciting and dynamic professionals working for different restaurants under their umbrella. Panelists included: Carlos Valencia (Production Sous Chef, Union Square Events), Eddie Rodriguez (Executive Chef, Conrad), Carlos Rodriguez (Catered & Private Events, Bluesmoke Flatiron) and Grant Gardner (Assistant General Manager, Bluesmoke Flatiron). Each talked to our guys about how they got their start in the industry and the drive and experience that led them to their current position.

guys talk to restaurant professionals

Ben Turndorf of Union Square Hospitality Group (far left) facilitates the discussion with our panelists (from left to right): Grant Gardner, Carlos Valencia, Carlos Rodriguez, and Eddie Rodriguez.

Importantly, many of these panelists didn’t undergo formal training like culinary school, but rather worked their way up the ladder and learned along the way. And for us, this is the takeaway we want for our guys coming out of these outings: A strong work ethic goes a long way.

Managers look for someone who is going to show up on time, commit, and has a sincere desire to learn. Being a classically-trained chef is wonderful, but not the only path. A positive outlook, creative thinking and the ability to work on a team are frequently just as important to one’s longevity and success.

We’re very proud to be able to work with companies like Union Square Hospitality Group to introduce our participants to these inspiring individuals who inspire those in our programming to continue on with their goals!