Title: Executive Chef & Instructor
Company: Cedar Sinai Park
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States
Jon Wirtis, Executive Chef at Catholic Charities, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in culinary arts and education.
Mr. Wirtis established Germaine’s Kitchen and Café (GKC), a gluten-free, workforce development culinary arts program of the Catholic Charities of Oregon, in 2021. Serving as the executive chef and lead instructor, his 16-week program provides students with essential, hands-on culinary skills and instruction, giving them the confidence and necessary fundamentals to secure employment in the food service industry.
Since 2019, Mr. Wirtis has provided superior service as director of culinary services and executive chef with Cedar Sinai Park, a premier assisted living facility in Portland, where he instituted a new Crandall menu system for better tracking and efficiency, maintained consistency throughout dining rooms in plate presentation and service standards, and reduced waste with the implementation of a new 5-week cycle menu, a la carte cooking and quality service standards.
In 1987, Mr. Wirtis obtained an Associate of Occupational Studies in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America. He then prospered as an executive chef from 1989 to 1999 with McCormick and Schick’s Seafood restaurant in Portland, as a chef and instructor at Le Cordon Bleu, the famed institution teaching French cuisine, from 2000 to 2005.
As executive chef with the Food Bank of southern Arizona from 2011 through 2016, Mr. Wirtis created and distributed over 14,000 meals each month to people and families in need. As an instructor for Caridad Community Kitchen, he helped give people in need a second chance at a career in food service through a free 10-week intensive culinary program to achieve a new beginning. Similarly, as a chef and instructor with GAP Ministries from 2016 to 2017, Mr. Wirtis helped support the development of a new culinary training program geared towards young adults aging out of the foster care system as well as those with barriers to employment and worked on developing expansion of kitchen to meet growing needs of training program. In addition, he assisted in food production for over 700 meals each week to low-income schools for after school meals. Subsequently, Mr. Wirtis excelled as director of culinary services and executive chef with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Southern Arizona from 2017 to 2019.
Mr. Wirtis attributes his success to his mentors and to his passion for culinary and food as well as his passion for helping others. Hailing from a large Jewish family, Mr. Wirtis was initially exposed to food preparation by his father, who owned several restaurants. Although he initially chose to attend a traditional college after high school, he eventually decided to change career paths by following in his father’s footsteps. Graduating third in his class from the Culinary Institute of America in 1987 has been Mr. Wirtis’s most notable accomplishment.
In the coming years, Mr. Wirtis is hoping for Germaine’s Kitchen and Cafe to be well-known and be recognized by the community for their service to people with disabilities.
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