Ian Howell has grown in ways he never expected in his 18 years working for Lutheran Senior Services (LSS), most recently being named Chef at Lutheran Hillside Village. Howell, 43, of Peoria, Illinois is one of the many career success stories at LSS.
“Over the years I thought I would stay a cook. But there are so many opportunities. I thought I might as well jump out there on a leap of faith. And here I am!”
Since joining as a pantry cook at Lutheran Hillside Village in 2004, Howell has grown from prepping salads, to line cook, to Sous Chef, to his current role of Chef.
He never expected to become a Chef, though he has a lifelong love of food. “My first job was putting together office cubicles,” he recalls. But soon, the kitchen called. “Then I slid into cooking. It’s been my passion ever since,” explains Howell.
Growing up, he watched his mother, uncles, and brothers cooking. As a boy, he awoke one morning hungry and everyone was out, so he decided he would try making a meal. He prepared a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast. From that moment of success, he knew he loved cooking. Today, his personal culinary journey is exploring Cajun food.
Howell was able to grow his skills at LSS by working side-by-side with great team members who supported his development. “Working with a certified chef for 17 years taught me everything I needed to know.”
One of the most challenging skills to develop was flipping omelets. “At first, I had to put plate on the skillet to flip. Then I learned how to flip in the pan!”
His career journey at LSS has been instrumental in Howell’s personal and professional growth. “It made me grow. It has helped me take on leadership roles,” he said.
For anyone considering a career at LSS, his advice is “give it a shot!” He cites the various programs LSS offers for employees interested in gaining additional education or exploring new avenues. “Plus, there are no late nights in these kitchens!”
“My favorite thing is the smiles on residents’ faces,” says Howell, as he reflects on his almost two decades with LSS. He is proud of providing the restaurant-level quality that residents have come to expect. He has become an expert on their favorite foods like ribs, fried chicken, and salmon.
You can start a career journey with LSS today! Visit https://www.lssliving.org/job-opportunities/ and explore your opportunities!