Hear from Brothers Marketplace’s Prepared Foods Merchandiser Jason Walker. After his story, find details on how you can join the Brothers Marketplace team, too!
I was at the top of my game working as the Executive Sous Chef at Top of the Hub in 2016, when I got a call from a Roche Bros. recruiter. Hearing “Roche Bros.” instantly brought back memories of warm friendly people and comforting food – and gave me a new vision of how I could advance my career.
Growing up in a close Italian family, I used to spend every Friday and Saturday night with my grandparents. On Sundays, they would make a traditional family meal. The weekend was packed with peeling carrots and potatoes, making polenta and hunting with my grandfather for frogs, snakes and squirrels. My most memorable and happy times were those weekends cooking with my grandparents.
My parents split up, and my dad bought a duplex in Natick, right behind Roche Bros. Dad worked a lot and left me cash to fend for myself at the supermarket. I’d come home from school, dash to Roche Bros., and run up and down the aisles, piling groceries in my cart. Chicken, mashed potatoes, and all the prepared foods were my favorite and really got me through weekday meals.
It was that comfort from meals that really got me thinking about cooking for a living. I left college and headed to the California Culinary Academy and then back to Boston for a roller-coaster ride of restaurant jobs. Jackie Robert at Petit Robert Bistro gave me my start – I worked there for five years cooking, expediting, hiring, training and opening five new restaurants. My career really took off – Sous Chef at Marliave (a 100% scratch kitchen!), Executive Sous Chef at Met Back Bay, Sous Chef at Loews Back Bay Boston Hotel and then Top of the Hub.
When I was working in restaurants, I worked six days per week for twelve hours per day. Roche Bros. offered a different path – the ability to create programs, train and develop people and grow a business – with a reasonable daytime schedule, healthcare, and benefits like a 401(k) that could help me save for the future, plus I was able to spend more time with my wife and son.
I joined Roche Bros. in 2016 as a Prepared Foods Merchandiser. I’ve worked at each of the company’s twenty kitchens for months at a time, cooking right alongside each store’s team. Opening new stores from scratch, overhauling hot bar programs, and bringing new life to old categories like chicken wings and pizza all offer lots of variety and keep the job fresh. But my favorite part of the job is the teaching – introducing the company’s cooks to new things and watching them get excited when they accomplish something they didn’t think they could do.
If I hadn’t grown up with all those memories of the friendly faces at Roche Bros. and the good food I’d eaten there, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice when the recruiter called. But that would have been a mistake. The opportunity for advancement, all of the teaching and coaching, and the ability to spend time with family make Roche Bros. unbeatable for a long-term career in food.
Want to be part of the team?
Join Jason Walker and the team at Roche Bros. They’re currently hiring a Kitchen Manager, Assistant Kitchen Manager, Garde Mange, Cooks, and Bakers for a Brothers Marketplace location opening in Cambridge this Fall, and numerous other culinary roles in Cambridge and their 20 other retail locations. Learn more and apply here.