Victor Monge – Head Cook at Casa Las Palmas Mesa, Arizona.
I started at Casa Campbell 7 years ago as a youth care worker and culinary arts teacher for our residents. Although I have 14 years of culinary experience, I was drawn to the mission of Southwest Key, because I like helping and mentoring others’ skill development. Two years ago, I was offered the Head Cook position here at Casa Las Palmas where I’m very happy.
We serve 120 youth and they’re the judges of the food we serve. When everyone is happy and tells you that the food was good, that’s when you know you did a great job.
A typical day is heading to work with the desire to do good and have a positive attitude, which is reflected in the love I put in my food. Even if it’s just a small pot of beans, they have to be the best beans. We serve 120 youth and they’re the judges of the food we serve. When everyone is happy and tells you that the food was good, that’s when you know you did a great job.
I’m always mindful to thank my teammates because they are a big part of our success. They’re always willing to help and learn and maintain our high standards of quality in the kitchen. We finish the day with no concerns because my team creates solutions.
Some of my favorite parts of my job are involving the youth at our shelters. I created a cooking competition with my culinary class, where they prepared and served lunch to the board of directors. Seven of them were servers and five of them were cooks. They did an awesome job and were very professional. They were taking drink orders and never got confused plating dishes at the tables.
I’ve also hosted a cake decorating competition, where youth teamed up and had to decorate cakes. Both events were super fun and I am very proud of them, and I know all the kids were all proud of themselves.