Celebrating Pride Month: Courtane Stanton, Chef de’ Cuisine, Bon Appétit Management Company
Courtane Stanton, better known as Court, has wanted to be a chef ever since she was young. Court’s culinary skills have taken her to restaurants all over the world before she joined Bon Appétit Management Company two and a half years ago. Named after a French painter, Court is passionate about gardening and is on a mission to make the culinary world more sustainable through her passion for plant-based cooking. Read her story to learn how she found her true identity and who inspired her passion for cooking.
What does it mean to you to celebrate Pride month?
I grew up in a very religious home, where being LGBTQ+ was not immediately accepted. It wasn’t until I moved away that I was able to embrace my identity. I never celebrated Pride when I was younger, but now as an adult, celebrating it with my family is a way of honoring my journey and recognizing those who came before me. Pride is about me living my truth every day and it symbolizes the achievement of me coming out to the world as I truly am.
Why is it important for people to show up authentically at work?
When people are allowed to be their authentic selves and use their authentic voices, it brings out the best in them. People want to feel like the company they work for has their back and that they belong. It is so important to lift up the voices of all people and give them a seat at the table. That’s what I appreciate most about working at Compass – they really encourage everyone to show up as their true selves and that helps us be more innovative and creative in our approach to food and customer service.
What is your advice for somebody who is struggling to embrace their identity?
Take it one day at a time. I know that sounds simple, but that mindset, along with having gratitude, has helped me overcome any negativity that I have encountered. I took negative experiences and used them to propel me forward with a fresh perspective. Those experiences helped me become the strong person that I am today.
What does it mean to be an ally?
I think it’s really difficult to know where people are in their journey, so being an ally is often just being willing to meet someone where they are. It’s going outside of your comfort zone to learn something new and educate yourself. It’s being present in the conversations and not avoiding them. It’s just standing in support of another person who needs it. We are just now getting to a place where more people and corporations are embarking on these types of conversations. That is really how we can get the world to a better place.
How did you become interested in food?
I had an uncle who was one of the first black chefs at the Ritz. I always looked up to him and he helped inspire my love for cooking.
What’s next for your career at Compass?
My focus right now is being an awesome vegan, plant-based chef, and I want to make a real impact on sustainability and help further drive that at Compass. In my personal life, I’m actually working on designing a set of knives, which I’m really excited about.