Jenifer Halin’s Passionate Journey through the Food Industry
At just 29 years old, Jenifer Halin opened her first restaurant. She quickly built a following and knew the food industry would be her home for years to come. From studying abroad in Paris, France to becoming an Executive Chef at Neiman Marcus, Jenifer’s path has been nothing short of motivational and exciting. We have so many talented and inspiring women just like Jenifer at Canteen. And while the entire world celebrates International Women’s Day, a day to “celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women”, we too wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight a woman living out her passion of working in the food industry.
Hailing from Philadelphia, Jenifer has worked in food service for over 30 years. She’s done a lot in that time, from fast casual management to contract food service to teaching culinary and management at a local college, and now a Field Marketing Specialist in our Northeast Dining Division. She credits two women over those 30 years who have inspired her journey – her first boss at a health food restaurant in high school, Debbie, and famed chef Alice Waters. Jenifer explains that Chef Waters was a trailblazer for women, for the sustainability movement, and for the farm to table concept.
For Jenifer, the notion of sustainability really took hold and inspired many decisions she would make throughout her career. When she was studying abroad in Paris, France earning her advanced culinary diploma from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, she learned of “the possibilities of creating food in conjunction with respect for nature and that quality food and ingredients can be available to everyone.” Taking that idea with her as she opened her own restaurant and created heart healthy menus and locally sourcing almost all ingredients.
Continued learning is a big part of Jenifer’s overarching theme in the food industry. One piece of advice she continues to share is that “the playing field keeps changing so play well with others and keep learning because you’ll never know it all.” Her advice to female culinarians who are just starting out is to “believe in yourself, find a mentor, and learn everything you can wherever you can.”
Jenifer’s career journey was not linear but proves that if you have the passion, the drive, and a supportive network, you can accomplish anything. Today we celebrate Jenifer and the women of Canteen who continue to share their stories to help create a gender equal world.