Give Thanks

November is the month for giving thanks, and CHOPS Jobs is so thankful for the many restaurants, chefs, hotels, business owners, job seekers, culinary schools and organizations who have partnered with us to create a resource that will help make our industry stronger by providing local candidates with job opportunities and businesses with local talent.

We’ve asked our partners what they are most thankful for this year, and we’d like to highlight them during the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

Judy Walker, Founder – Golden Rule Charity

“I am most thankful for the many volunteers who give of their time, talent and resources. Without their help, I would not be able to assist the many people suffering from hunger, natural disasters or unexpected hardship. I am so thankful that when I call, they answer and are quick to say – how can I help, what can I do?” – Judy Walker

Chef Ryan Wagner, Founder & Chef Director – CulinaryLab Cooking School

“I have much to be grateful for as we head into our third year of business. What I’m most thankful for are the people who have helped build CulinaryLab to where it is today–our staff, our industry partners, my own family, and of course, our dedicated students.” – Chef Ryan Wagner

Talia Samuels, Founder – Outshine PR

“I am so thankful that I get to work with such talented clients. Working with such passionate chefs and restaurateurs keeps me inspired and energized. I love being able to work with them on new ways to tell their stories. I love what I do because of who I get to work with!” – Talia Samuels

Laurent Vrignaud, Owner – Moulin Bistro

“I am thankful for the local customers that come back daily to support Moulin Bistro, the local enthusiasm for what we’ve built, being able to provide steady jobs to 75 people, and the ability to show our passion for Parisian culture to our friends and neighbors.” – Laurent Vrignaud

Lori Reich, Owner – Little Onion Mexican Restaurant

“I have been most thankful for the wonderful customers that come through our doors every day and the hard working employees that help make Little Onion Mexican Restaurant not only a great restaurant, but a cohesive and caring work-family.” – Lori Reich 

Executive Chef John English, The Royal Hen

“This year I’m thankful for the opportunities that people have given me to progress in my career. I’m also extremely thankful for my family and friends who have been more than supportive of me.” – Executive Chef, John English

Carrie Gemme, Personnel-Office Manager – Canyon Catering

“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to work at Canyon Catering. The owners are hard-working and passionate people. They treat us like family and allow us to feel empowered and to be a part of something great. Sometimes that makes all the difference in the world!” – Carrie Gemme

Executive Chef Collin Thornton, Monarch Beach Resort

“Friends, Family, Team and Community have my resounding thanks this past year, as it’s been great! We’ve had a full year behind us after our extensive renovations with a community and guests who have embraced our new offerings and experiences. It’s been a truly amazing journey, and one we’re proud to have been on with a group of true professionals here at the Monarch Beach Resort.” – Executive Chef, Collin Thornton

Betsy Thagard, Founder – B. toffee

“I’m thankful first and foremost for my incredible family, who I couldn’t imagine my life without. I’m so grateful to be growing a company I’m so passionate about and being able to share our B. toffee product that brings so much joy and happiness to so many!” – Betsy Thagard

Chef Mike Pascua, Kitchen Manager – Stag Bar + Kitchen

“I’m thankful for the privilege of working for such a great company. Since joining the Stag Bar + Kitchen family, I’ve met and worked with some amazing people. I’m also very thankful for all of my family who live in Hawaii.” – Chef, Mike Pascua 

Chef, Blake Melgren, Chef & Proprietor – Craft House

“What am I most thankful for this year? Looking over 2017 as a whole, there are the obvious: friends, family, doing what I love on a daily basis and sharing it with others, and the beauty that we are surrounded by in So. Cal. However, I am most thankful for the support we have received at Craft House, internally and externally. Internally, the team that I have at Craft House is amazing. I couldn’t be happier with the people I get to spend my days with at the restaurant. They love and care about Craft House, itself and our ethos as a restaurant, just as much as I do and finding people that truly love what they do is harder and harder to find these days. Externally, I’m thankful for the wonderful guests that come through our doors, our suppliers and vendors that allow us to share our craft with the public, and the amazing community of talented chefs, farmers, craftsmen, and social stewards of our community, such as Evan Marks of the Ecology Center, Paddy Glennon from Superior Seafood and Ryan Troli from Harbor Fish Co, just to name a few.” – Chef, Blake Melgren

Chef, Bill Bracken – Bracken’s Kitchen

“As I think back over 2017, my gratitude list is long and detailed.  If I had to pick the top 3-5 things that I am most grateful for, it is my God in heaven and all the ways that He has worked in my life, especially this year. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by an immense and loving family and growing circle of friends. I have been equally blessed and am so very thankful for all of the wonderful relationships that I have built through Bracken’s Kitchen, both with the families that we serve and the growing number of supporters that are in our corner. Some amazing people have been brought into my life through our little kitchen. Words cannot adequately convey the enormous impact that these people have had on my life and for that I will be eternally grateful.” – Chef, Bill Bracken

Anthony Iniguez, Manager – Panda Express Restaurants

“What I’m most thankful for this year is working for Panda Restaurant Group, which has given me the opportunity to purchase my first home. I’m also grateful for the owners, Andrew and Peggy, for giving me the opportunity and trusting me to take on more responsibility in their company so that I can improve my life and those around me.” – Anthony Iniguez

Steve Gostin, Program Chair Culinary Arts – The Art Institute Orange County

“I am very thankful to have been named Program Chair for the Culinary Arts Department at The Art Institute of Orange County (AiOC) this past March. I’m proud of the advancements and changes we have made to grow and improve our department for our students and focus on their education and careers. There is nothing more honorable and humbling to me than to see them graduate and achieve their personal dreams and professional goals.” – Steve Gostin

Chef, Ross Pangilinan, Chef & Owner – Mix Mix Kitchen Bar

“As our first year anniversary at Mix Mix Kitchen Bar approaches, I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for my staff, especially the ones who have been here since day one. I am thankful for everyone who has dined with us and supported us. I am also very thankful for all the catering and special events we have done.” – Chef, Ross Pangilinan