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Culinary Operations Manager

Kitchen | Gourmet Gorilla | Full Time

Job Description

Culinary Operations Manager

Commissary | Production | Chicago | Full Time


Job Description

Gourmet Gorilla is looking for a Culinary Operations Manager to join our culinary team! This position will be very dynamic and requires collaboration with every department in the company.

A successful candidate is one who is focused, competitive and driven by a passion for the mission to deliver good food to kids! You should have strong moral character, with a willingness and appreciation for open dialogue and transparency. An ability to facilitate or be part of a team is essential. Have an innate empathy with a keen interest in educating or being educated while building community in and around the organization. Someone who constantly strives for greatness through problem solving and innovation. Manage challenges with energy, balance and perseverance. The candidate for this position will be responsible for driving innovation while implementing company systems in conjunction with the management team. This position will report directly to the Director of Culinary Production.

The Culinary Operations Manager is responsible for overseeing culinary production in accordance with airline specifications and NSLP, DCFS, CACFP and HACCP food hygiene standards, along with being the main point of contact for the Lean team and nutrition, inventory, sourcing, customer service and logistics departments. This position is responsible for planning and overseeing the overall day-to-day culinary production operations of Gourmet Gorilla to achieve the tactical and strategic plans for the production of the organization within budget and profitability. This role requires demonstrated leadership in food manufacturing, problem solving, coaching people, maintaining standards and process improvement. Responsibilities include overseeing the administrative, production, research and development, systems and SOPs of the department. This role is also responsible for leading the business toward safe, compliant, efficient, and profitable operations while producing high quality products. The Operations Manager will lead with a collaborative manner, seeking to develop the culinary production team, and will interface with all satellite locations across the company to share resources for effectiveness.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Food Production

  • Execute and supervise food production activities and plan production schedules
  • Manage proper cleaning, cutting, marinating, seasoning, cooking of food items etc.
  • Supervise, coordinate and control employees in food storage (e.g. maintaining tidiness, following the first in - first out principle)
  • Monitor material consumption and order required food and equipment on a daily basis to satisfy the daily production plan
  • Collaborate with Menu Planning to determine recipes, menu schedule, and new items to feature on the upcoming menu cycle
  • Collaborate in the development and lead testing of food products and menus as needed for menu presentations, and to support constant menu innovation
  • Consistently review recipe SOPs to ensure they are accurate and up to date; conduct updates when necessary with the nutrition director.
  • Execute counter measures in the production in case of customer complaints
  • Implement, execute and support training of direct reports

Quality & Safety

  • Maintain and monitor hygiene, health and safety standards and monitor that Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Safe Quality Food (SQF) regulations are adhered to
  • Maintain and monitor quality, conduct quality control checks according to HACCP regulations
  • Conduct quality checks of goods received
  • Monitor and ensure compliance with recipe specifications
  • Ensure employees have appropriate equipment, supplies and resources to perform their job, and meet goals, cost controls and deadlines as assigned
  • Establish and maintain a safe work environment including both food and physical safety in order to comply with all regulatory and Gourmet Gorilla standards
  • Test new recipes internally and externally and revisit old ones for the upcoming menu cycle
  • Confirm Health-E recipes are up to date with current practices and product in the facility
  • Maintain Production and Prep Task sheets for current yields and recipe numbers for Chicago location. Plan internal audits of components:
  • Gather information from internal audits and update website with new-found data
  • Coordinate production and development of CPG product line and special orders for potential new clients or catering events


  • Utilize Gourmet Gorilla resources, recipes, systems and programs to direct daily operations including, food production, inventory, product deliveries, invoices, and procurement operations
  • Comply with budget requirements by controlling costs (i.e. labor, inventory, equipment, materials) and making adjustments when necessary
  • Supervise employees by delegating, assigning and prioritizing activities, and monitoring operating standards
  • Develop and implement plans, projects, with defined objectives, methods, timetables and budget to support operational needs and company strategic plan
  • Guide, motivate and develop staff within the Human Resources policies and company culture
  • Make the company's values and management principles live in the department(s)
  • Manage productivity hours and costs in the area of responsibility; initiate and steer corrective actions in case of deviations
  • Participate and support company sponsored initiatives such as Quality, SQF, HACCP, Lean Manufacturing, Employee Safety and Production systems, Training
  • Collaborate and partner with Lean Process Engineer on continuous improvement systems, processes and technology


  • Minimum three years prior experience in management or supervisory role in food or culinary services or a large food production operation like school foodservice or the airline industry
  • Prior supervisory experience in a kitchen or culinary department
  • Full knowledge of methods, procedures and quality standards relating to company menus as well as basic kitchen procedures and terminology related to large batch cooking
  • Ability to utilize company policies to successfully uphold quality and consistency in all menu items prepared and served
  • City of Chicago and Illinois Safe Serve Manager certificate
  • Ability to effectively demonstrate and communicate the quality and mission of the company to all associates
  • Ability to effectively deal with internal and external customers, some whom may require extreme levels of patience, tact and diplomacy to resolve problems quickly and efficiently
  • Ability to continuously visually inspect, taste and smell product to ensure freshness and quality
  • Ability to communicate effectively with associates, management, clients and vendors
  • Demonstrated ability to motivate others and achieve best in class results
  • Ability to work flexible schedule to accommodate business levels
  • Ability to communicate work-related information to coworkers and supervisors in a multicultural environment
  • An understanding of USDA school meal nutritional requirements preferred
  • Experience with Lean manufacturing and continuous improvement methodologies and systems
  • MS, RDN, LDN degrees preferred

Job Details

  • Full Time Salaried Position with Benefits
  • Early morning hours
  • Location: 1200 W Cermak Rd., Pilsen, Chicago
  • Start: Immediately
  • Salary: DOE





Gourmet Gorilla is an equal opportunity employer with a policy that provides equal employment opportunity for applicants and employees regardless of race, color, religion, disability, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy, veteran status, or any other classification protected by law. This policy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, hiring, promotion, compensation, reassignment, layoff, discharge, education, training, and all other working conditions.