Smile Spotlight: General Manager Aaron

How long have you been with Parkhurst Dining?

I have been with the company for a year and a half.

If you were a food, what would you be?

Do you want the cheesy answer? Avocado – It’s a super food, and I’m super. 

No, but it’s my favorite ingredient. I love tacos, I love guacamole. It’s filled with nutrients. It’s just my favorite.

You have a culinary background too, correct? 

Yes, I have worked in Fine Dining Restaurants, Hotels, and Convention Centers. I started as an events hand, setting dining rooms for weddings when I was 15. I later took a gig in dish and worked my way through the ranks to Executive Chef. I loved the high-intensity atmosphere, and the quick problem resolution skills that the kitchen sometimes requires. 

I also really enjoy events-based operations, and previously created menus and lead the team for the Cleveland Sports Awards, Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Arts Grand Opening, and the Ohio Ecological Food & Farmers Association Convention. However, my favorite event was the Feast of Giving in Dayton Ohio, which is a charitable Thanksgiving Day event that feeds 10,000 Dayton residents who may be facing food insecurities for the holiday.

While here at Wittenberg we have had our share of awesome events as well, from the campus wide outdoor luncheon/pig roast to the Battleship and Mortal Kombat tournaments. It has been truly rewarding to have had these gatherings, especially during such a unique year. 

What is a most requested dish by your family and friends?

It’s typically less of a dish request and more of a demand for me to cook every holiday and to grill all summer. It can be a bit taxing, hah!

What do you love about working for Parkhurst?

The flexibility to innovate, the personalization, and high emphasis on teamwork. 

As General Manager at Wittenberg University, you serve plenty of bright, young minds! What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your college-aged self?

My advice are the two following tidbits, that actually work together; “slow and steady wins the race” and “time waits for no man”. Translation: Don’t move too fast, but also know when to seize the moment. 

When do you feel most at home in your skin?

When I’m out in nature. I do a lot of hiking – I love Hocking Hills and Red River Gorge is great. When I’m outdoors is when I feel most at home. 

During stressful times, what do you do to comfort yourself and those around you? 

People look for someone who is in control during stressful times.  When the road gets tumultuous, people look at the driver. No one wants to see a frantic driver. Maintain composure. Make sure that everyone understands that the situation is under control – whatever happens, we’ll find a way around it. In my mind there is no such thing as reaching the end of the road. If we need more road, we will find a way to create more…

What is your favorite guilty pleasure food? 

I like desserts in general. We had a partnership meeting recently, and Chef Zak served us a Churro Donut which was the first real treat I’ve had in a month or so.  I’ve been trying to eat healthily. Almond yogurt parfaits have been my excitement food! 

Is there anything else you’d like to make sure anyone reading this blog knows? 

We’re always hiring!