What's Cooking at SES

SES President, Steve DiBerardine, has envisioned being able to provide employees with healthy lunch options for several years. When our adjacent warehouse was renovated into new office space, he was given the perfect opportunity to make this goal a reality. "I would always see people leaving at noon to run out for lunch, returning with bags from fast food restaurants, and I'd think "I know we can do better than that.'" And boy, did we!

Nearly 400 square feet of space was transformed into a commercial kitchen, allowing us to bring in a professional chef several days a week to craft fresh and healthy meals for employees and lunchtime guests. A graduate from Oakland Community College's Culinary Studies Institute, Garland has already served up more than 10,000 plats of mouth-watering food in just three years at SES, including everything from hearty soups and roasted veggies, to grilled steaks and fresh salads...and even an occasional comfort dish, like mac and cheese. The kitchen is also used to create meals for lunch & learns, other company events, and has the potential to be the site of some unique and exciting team-building opportunities (SES Iron Chef, anyone?).

Meet The Chef:

Garland Waller

Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Garland had a long career in staffing for two Fortune 20 companies before ultimately deciding to follow her passion for cooking. Since graduating from the Culinary Studies Institute, she's kept active in the kitchen, working for corporate caterer, Forte Belanger; teaching classes at William Sonoma; consulting for Oakland Community College; and running her own catering company, Southern Dish. When she met with Steve, she was drawn to his vision to take care of his employees with a casual lunchtime atmosphere and healthy, homemade meals, and started almost immediately.

Her favorite cook is her mom, and artist and political activist and, accoring to Garland, "the best cook in the world." Although she doesn't care for all the cooking competitions on TV, as they remind her too much of the stress of culinary school, she does enjoy watching The Barefoot Contessa. Her favorite meal is fresh fried fish with grits, and like any great chef, her favorite ingredient to cook with is butter.