5 Questions with Culinary’s Mark Merchant
Thanks to our talented Culinary team, Arthrex employees enjoy complimentary lunches throughout the work week. In this edition of our 5 Questions interview series, Sous Chef Mark Merchant talks about his Arthrex experience, which began eight and a half years ago as a line cook, and how he’s involved in serving thousands of employees each day.
What does a typical day at Arthrex look like for you?
My days vary quite a bit, but I start off by opening the kitchen. I’m usually the first one in and I build the prep list and the daily agenda for the staff so everyone knows what we need to complete. Then it’s a lot of inventory check. I collaborate with Executive Chef William Blum and the rest of the culinary leadership team to determine the weekly menu and call the reps we work with to order food. Chef Will sends a list of suggestions and then it’s slightly modified based on each unique building and its staff. It’s a big group that works on the menu, but it boils down to myself, Sous Chef John Rapp and Chef Will and then we go from there.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
My team! I have a really wonderful team and they all work really hard to make sure that they’re giving the best service they possibly can, which makes for really great days. I also fell in love with cooking at Arthrex. I had done a lot of work in the culinary field throughout my life, mostly seasonal stuff, but after a little while here I realized that cooking was something I really care about. Chef Will taught me about things that I didn’t even know existed before working with him.
What has been a highlight during your time at Arthrex?
About five years ago, I was asked to run the then-new kitchen at the Arthrex Logistics Center in Fort Myers, FL. I was really excited, especially because I didn’t see it coming. The ALC kitchen wasn’t quite finished when I moved up there. I remember going in and dusting and scrubbing every corner of the kitchen once construction was finished and washing all of the dishes. It was a lot of work and so worth it. Shortly after that, I was promoted to the role of sous chef.
What is the best advice you’ve received throughout your career?
That’s tricky because I’ve heard so many wonderful things over the years. Right now I go by the saying, ‘Assume nothing.’ That’s been really helpful as a sous chef, because there are a lot of variables in the job that change constantly, like the romaine lettuce recall that happened in December of 2018. You definitely have to be flexible. Plus, I look to Chef Will as a mentor. He’s the best boss I’ve ever had.
What do you do in your downtime?
I have a wife and three beautiful children, so just about every bit of my downtime goes to being with them. We do all sorts of fun things together. I’m also interested in pyrography, which is decorating wood by burning designs into it, so sometimes I’ll do that at home.
Want to join the Arthrex team? View all open positions.