Why Compass Group for Eurest’s Darlene Anderson? Compass Group is a place where she can live out her passion for people and food every single day.
“I have learned so much from my 37 years at Compass Group. They take care of me and I try to take care of the diners I serve.”
It didn’t come easy for Darlene Anderson’s father. As a longshoreman in New York City, he worked long hours, leaving before the sun came up and returning well after sundown. That meant most of the chores and cooking fell to Darlene and her siblings. Luckily, with a family of 13, she had plenty of help. It was here, amid the scurrying of kids and watchful eyes of her mother and grandmother, that Darlene learned the joys of cooking.
“Everyone in the family is a good cook,” said Darlene Anderson. “There were so many of us, we had to learn. My mother and grandmother were great teachers. Also, my uncle owned a diner in Hoboken, so we had a chance to learn from him.”
Even after all the years, those memories still remain vivid and shine through the work she does for Compass Group. For the past 37 years, Darlene has worked on the Prudential Financial contract in Newark, N.J. She remains a steadfast beacon in the kitchen. She sees her role as more than just preparing food. Darlene loves to interact with diners and make sure her regulars get the right meal at the right time. In many cases, those regulars come to see Darlene.
“It’s not the building. It’s the people that make this place. They can get food anywhere. It’s the people that brings them back for more.”
These days, Darlene is semi-retired but still a commanding presence in the kitchen. She takes her mentorship role seriously, pushing young cooks to demand only the best from their food.
“Cooking is something you have to love. Something that comes from the heart, because of that I can cook anything.”
You’ll be hard pressed to find Darlene outside of a kitchen. Her love of food and people runs beyond just her work with Compass Group. For almost 30 years, she has volunteered at the St. James food pantry. Five days a week, she uses her talents to deliver a hot meal or a helping hand to people in need.
“When you are with people that really need it, you get a great feeling by helping them. I have a passion for helping people. It’s where my heart is.”
Despite her busy schedule, Dalene finds time to travel, take her 9-year-old Golden Labrador on long walks, and spoil her nieces and nephews. With no plans to retire, Darlene is setting the bar for service excellence at her account and cultivating the next generation of culinary talent at Compass Group.