Fairygodboss

Marjorie Young believes in the curative powers of a good meal. That’s one of the reasons she left behind the traditional hospitality industry and brought her culinary skillset to a slightly less conventional space: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York City.

At MSK, Young serves as Retail & Special Functions Sous Chef within its Food & Nutrition Department, a place she’s called home the past 16 years. It’s a diverse role to hold, touching everything from scheduling and talent development to MSK’s Room Service Program. And this isn’t the stereotypical hospital fare that she’s overseeing, either. 


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“Our Press Ganey scores for the hospitality, quality, and temperature of our food have consistently been in the 99th percentiles,” Young said. “We believe in healing through nutrition and have been known to go to great measures in accommodating a patient's craving. The staff has a very diverse background that allows us to recreate a variety of ethnic dishes, too.” 

An inclusive approach to health and wellness plays a central role in Young’s life, both in and out of work. As the mother of a son with special needs, she’s an involved advocate within the special needs community, and she’s dedicated to making her personal health a priority, too; for the past year, she’s been going to the gym two to four times a week. That’s not the easiest feat for any working mom, but having a supportive employer like MSK helps make it accessible. 

Recently, Young shared with Fairyodboss what it’s like to have your wellness supported on and off the clock, and why joining the healthcare industry is the career move she’s proudest of.

What’s the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day? 

The first thing I do is review the schedules for the entire Production area (kitchen), which includes Patient Services, Retail, Deli/Grill & OR Lounge. The last thing that I do is check with the PM Retail Cooks to ensure that they are clear on their assignments and do a walk through of the cafeteria to ensure that all displayed items are on point.

What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of your job or company?  

The most interesting aspect of the Food & Nutrition Department at MSK is that we operate a stellar Room Service Program for our patients.

What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about your company that you think they should?  

Our Press Ganey scores for the hospitality, quality and temperature of our food have consistently been in the 99th percentiles.

What’s something you’re especially good at work?  

Scheduling and talent development. I have a very diverse background as a chef and in different healthcare foodservice styles. I have developed a certain level of patience that’s enabled me to train the staff and the ability to align their jobs with their strongest skill set. 

What about outside of work? 

I have a son with special needs because of a basketball incident, so I am very involved and am an advocate for individuals with special needs.

What are you trying to improve on? 

Since last September, I have been working diligently on managing my health and wellness. I have been watching my diet and am now in the gym two to four times per week with some success.

What’s your favorite mistake?  

Serving a dish that is only used on a Seder plate during Passover (Kosher Cuisine) as a side dish. Then I went on to work in a Kosher facility and became very good at it.

What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of?  

Leaving the hospitality industry and pursuing a career as a chef in the healthcare industry.

What do you love most about your job or your company? 

We believe in healing through nutrition and have been known to go to great measures in accommodating a patient's craving. The staff has a very diverse background that allows us to recreate a variety of ethnic dishes.  

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to? 

I’m reading “Embrace Your Best Self, Fabulous and Healthy after 50” by Veronica McLymont, PhD, and I just finished watching the cricket World Series.

Who is/was the most influential person in your life and why?  

My mother is; my father died when I was 15 and I had three siblings. She worked, never remarried, and yet she was still able to provide for all of us. A very strong woman.

What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?  

Some battles are not worth fighting.  

What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?  

Support and mentorship, including supporting my decision making even when my decisions wound up needing tweaking. Before making decisions, always be analytical.

What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?  

Be knowledgeable about the industry, and apply and interview with confidence. A soldier never goes to war unarmed.

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