Serving Our Students Right: Meet Los Angeles Job Corps’ Chef Birtha Moore
Chef Birtha Moore has been the food services manager at the Los Angeles Job Corps Center for almost five years. And before that, she worked for over 25 years at the Atlanta Job Corps Center as a manager and culinary instructor – and during all that time keeping very important customers happy.
“It always comes back to the student,” says Chef Moore. “I tell everyone, I’m a student advocate. As long as my students are happy, I’m happy.”
Chef Moore says she couldn’t keep those students happy without her team in the kitchen. “I take care of [my team] because they take care of me. I can’t do anything by myself here. This is a team effort.”
And that team effort includes working together to provide the very best services to students. And for this team…it’s all about the food. Chef Moore says nutritional requirements set by Job Corps can be very strict. And that can make student requests…tricky.
“I love looking in my suggestion box,” she says. “They say they want this and that, and it’s lots of requests, and I have to tell them I can’t give you all of them, but I can give you some of it.”
Chef Moore says communicating and compromising means both students and staff can learn more about making healthy and tasty dietary decisions. But, she says, it’s a little nerve-wracking when you try something new.
“Like today, I have never made this item before in my life. But a student asked for it. So, I’m going to put it out there. I’m going to put it out there and see what the feedback will be. We will see. I’m nervous.”
She believes to serve our students right, we need to always choose the right staff.
“We have to get people that really want to be here, in this culture,” Chef Moore says. “That makes the difference. When you got people that want to be here then you should have no problem with the culture of MTC. And MTC’s ‘Culture of Caring’. I believe in the culture of caring.”