Our Woodford catering team are broadening their international repertoire, and it’s not just the cuisine. Alliance catering has welcomed new Head Chef, Jonathan Del Pino into the kitchen. Originally from Mexico City, Jonathan’s surname translates as ‘from the pine tree’ which is quite fitting considering the abundance of trees in his new workplace environment.
Jonathan says he was attracted to the role at Woodford because he thrives on the ability to understand diverse customer needs whilst delivering a special culinary experience for every individual.
“My aim is to provide substantial, quality meals in order to get happy students every day.”
As well as Mexican food, Jonathan has a particular interest in Asian and Indian cuisine.
“It is interesting that you can create emotional food. Spices affect how you feel, they can raise or lower your mood. Opening up the senses to different flavours gives students a bigger understanding of diversity within the world.”
On a typical day you will catch Jonathan busy in the kitchen studying menus, checking ingredients, honing his knife skills, serving up portions and keeping his team’s work space clean and tidy.
Jonathan busy preparing delicious salads for lunch
Growing up in Mexico, Jonathan’s values of family, food and culture are never far away.
“Cooking for a Mexican family, you are surrounded by a passion for food. Everyone competing to create the best dish.”
Whilst his Mexican heritage will always be close, Jonathan’s heart is firmly in New Zealand now. Having met his Brazilian fiancée, Vivian, shortly after arriving in the country four years ago, they are expecting their first child in July.
“Hawke’s Bay is the best place to live because of the weather, food experiences, restaurants, wineries and fresh produce all year round.”
Bringing a wealth of experience, including positions at the Instituto Politecnico Nacional Mexico (one of the largest public universities in Mexico), the Ministry of Mexican Social Affairs, and running his own bistro, Jonathan’s skills were just what Alliance Catering and Cleaning Services Manager, Rebecca Simpson, was looking for.
“We had an overwhelming response of suitable applicants for the Head Chef position. What made Jonathan stand out was his experience of working within education and his expertise in international cuisine. His diversity in professional cookery makes him qualified to lead a team and efficiently run a busy kitchen.”
Rebecca and her team are excited about working alongside Jonathan and are very happy to have him on board.
“He has some exciting ideas and a real passion for healthy food which has already been expressed on the plate. I have been blown away by some of the flavour combinations when trying his food.”
We wish Jonathan a warm Woodford ‘bienvenido’ (welcome) and are excited to see what culinary delights he has in store for us.
Mrs Andrea Jackson, Communications and Marketing Coordinator