I never expected to be in the food safety industry, I always wanted to be a professional snowboarder. But here I am, 25 years of food service experience behind me, 10 years of training experience and a successful food safety training company that I share with my wife, Michelle. She is the real secret to any success I’ve ever had. I also have 2 children, Samuel and Stella.
I started off as a 13 yr old kid working at a pizza place in Lake Tahoe CA called Pedro’s Pizza on the North Star at Tahoe Ski resort. I just wanted a free ski pass and rentals but I had no idea where this was going to lead me. Washing dishes, clearing tables and getting yelled at by my boss who had no tolerance for my adolescence was my work life. I still look back and use some of those experiences today. I then went through a litany of experiences with restaurants from Chuck E. Cheese’s to the L’Opera fine dining Italian Restaurant at the Irvine Spectrum and every other restaurant in between doing everything from cooking to bar tending.
In 2003, while working at a very authentic British pub in Fullerton CA called The Olde Ship as a bartender/key holder and attending Chapman University, I met my wife and partner and fell immediately in love. I was a wild, raucous young man at the time and she seemed to see something in me that she loved so we quickly got married and started a family. This is when I got into restaurant management to provide our family with medical insurance and stability. I delved deep into all of the training that these corporate facilities offered. What I found to be the most interesting thing about these restaurants is that they had so much great procedural information available that not everyone utilized, everything from managing costs to HR issues which I took advantage of.
I managed many different facilities while working for Coco’s and Chili’s and this gave me a very diverse look at how things were done in food service. While working with Coco’s, my wife who was at the time starting a different training company, approached me with a request from one of their clients to teach food safety management. I was pleased and nervous to teach this course but it turned out that the client was very happy and I had a knack for training. I continued to teach this class occasionally while working for the corporate restaurant world for about 5 more years. It was at this time that I also received several years of mentoring in harassment prevention from her partner, Jacquelyn Thorp, a respected HR industry professional with many years of HR experience.
I am currently the co-owner of Western Food Safety in Southern California, a food service consulting company that I have now dedicated my life to since 2010. My area of expertise is in restaurants, as the vast majority of my experience has been in that industry but have done leadership training for many business outside of the food industry.