Compass Group Celebrates Positive Impact Chefs Create in Community

September 12, 2022

Charlotte, N.C. (September 12, 2022) – From developing culinary mentorship programs and championing diversity and inclusion initiatives that create change to forging lasting relationships with local farmers and small business owners, chefs are making a difference in communities across the country.  Committed to celebrating the people behind the food, Compass Group kicks off the 5th annual Chef Appreciation Week today with the 2022 theme of “Celebrating Community thru Food.” The world’s largest culinary celebration runs through September 18 and is observed in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Through a variety of celebratory events, Compass Group is recognizing their amazing frontline chefs and culinary leaders across its family of business, including thousands of change agents who are local sourcing advocates, food waste heroes, diverse supplier supporters, social equity pioneers and charity champions. No matter the location, every Compass Group chef is empowered to be a leader in their community, a valued partner who is committed to serving their guests and works toward a sustainable future for all.

Each one of Compass’ foodservice companies nominated one outstanding 2022 Chef Appreciation Week Chef of the Year to represent their organization. Chefs were selected for their commitment to investing in team development, championing community and environment, all while making positive impact. A snapshot of our 2022 Chefs of the Year:

Amira Cooke, Bon Appétit Management Company Executive Chef is on a mission to encourage all those who want to be a part of the hospitality world, especially women who never had the opportunity, to build careers in the industry. Her vision and dream are to have true diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplace and spaces where everyone simply belongs.

Nizam Saad, Chartwells K12 Director of Dining Services launched a successful Sports Nutrition program with the school’s Athletic Director to help students learn what foods can best power their performance. Outside of school, he draws from personal experience emigrating to the US from Lebanon to help migrant families settle into their new homes.

Livio Velardo, Levy Senior Executive Chef, Barclays Center is a true champion of the community.  He welcomed more than 30 small and minority business owners to join a diverse vendor program. Chef serves as a culinary mentor to Food Education Fund high school students, providing them with real-world experience and instructional knowledge to enter the hospitality workforce.

Esteban Martinez, TouchPoint Executive Chef offers instruction and mentorship that is backed by unparalleled performance. He developed a third shift Grab-n-Go kiosk service for the account, holds the highest compliance in his region for Waste Not, Compass Group’s proprietary waste-tracking tool, and fed a local professional Rugby team 3,000 meals during the season.

Jonathan Stirnweis, Executive Chef for Wolfgang Puck Catering has an infectious personality. He is a natural at bringing people together, building relationships across the business and developing teams, mentoring both current associates and the next generation of talent in local culinary programs. Jonathan supports his community through food waste recovery, purchasing from local farmers and highlighting seasonal ingredients in specialty dishes.

Join the Celebration

“Every day, our chefs and culinary teams demonstrate their passion, creativity and talents in serving an impressive 11 million meals to our guests across the country,” said Gary Green, CEO, Compass Group North America. “Their individual contributions extend beyond the kitchens into every community we serve, so please join me this Chef Appreciation Week in saying a sincere thank you for their efforts big and small.”

About Compass Group North America

Compass Group is redefining the food and support services landscape with innovation and passion through the lens of what’s next. Serving premier healthcare systems, respected educational institutions, world-renowned cultural centers, popular sporting and entertainment venues, and Fortune 500 organizations the world over, Compass Group always finds a way to deliver excellence in nearly any vertical. Whether it’s serving school meals students love, high-end concessions in stadiums, or nourishing, home style meals for seniors, Compass is an industry leader. Ranked No. 1 by industry peers on Fortune’s 2020 list of World’s Most Admired Companies, Compass has also earned a spot on Forbes’ list of the Best Employers for Diversity in 2020 and is among the Top 50 Companies Changing the World according to Fortune. Learn more about the Compass experience at