For 20-year CDCR employee Johnathon Williams, food service plays an important role fulfilling the department’s mission of rehabilitation. He currently works as a correctional supervising cook at California Institution for Women.
Williams plans and prepares meals, ensures kitchen equipment is operational, and oversees incarcerated kitchen crews.
February 7-11 marks Pride in Food Service Week, recognizing all those who keep the institutions running from inside the kitchen. Inside CDCR caught up with Correctional Supervising Cook Williams to discuss his career and the rehabilitative role of food.
Meet Correctional Supervising Cook Johnathon Williams
Why is food service important in a correctional institution?
It helps morale with staff, but especially the incarcerated population. When you prepare a meal for the population, and they enjoy it, it makes their day.
What do you find fulfilling about your role in CDCR?
Working with peers and the ability to help rehabilitate and be a mentor to the population. It provides guidance in the rehabilitative process.
How do you see food service playing a role in rehabilitation?
Learning to cook provides a skill that can translate when they leave here, giving them the knowhow and confidence in what they are doing. It takes skill to cook for many and not just for yourself or family.
How would you explain your job to someone who doesn’t work for corrections?
It’s a challenge but rewarding and an outstanding job. It makes you fill well because you are cooking for people. When the product is done and looks good; that’s when it’s rewarding and although there is a menu, you still have freedom in the quality of the food.
Anything else you’d like to add?
There have been ups and downs but I am very appreciative of my career and I enjoy the structured environment. Working with peers, both staff and incarcerated workers, is a good deal.
What is Pride in Food Service Week?
Pride in Food Service Week celebrates the nutrition and food-service professionals and other members of the nutrition services team.
Learn more about CDCR careers in food service.
By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
See more stories highlighting CDCR/CCHCS staff.