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Darden for Life | John Shelley of Olive Garden

March 13, 2017

By: Darden Restaurants, Editor

Darden for Life | John Shelley of Olive Garden

John Shelley, a culinary professional at the Olive Garden restaurant in Beachwood, OH, says he still has passion for the job after 30 years — and he still has hair!

Photo Credit: Darden Restaurants

Q. How long have you been with Olive Garden, and what do you like best about your job?

A. I’ve worked for Olive Garden 30 years, and I’ve worked every job in the kitchen. I’m now a culinary professional at the Olive Garden restaurant in Beachwood, OH, and I still have passion for my job. I spent most of my career at the Daytona Beach location on International Speedway Boulevard, but a little more than a year ago, after spending my whole life in Daytona Beach, I decided to move to Ohio. I have family in the Cleveland area, and I wanted to experience snow and a different climate. I used to go to the beach constantly, but I got tired of it and wanted a new, memorable experience.

Q. What are the main reasons you have dedicated your career to Olive Garden?

A. Job stability and Olive Garden’s atmosphere of teamwork. I enjoy helping out my team members. If the dishwasher is out, I’m the first person to walk over there and lend a hand. Dishwashing was my first job at Olive Garden, when I was in high school, so I still have some love for the dishwashers.

My work philosophy (actually, my mother taught me this) is that as long as I have passion for the job, I will stay. If I have nothing else to give, I will walk away and hold my head up.

Q. Would you recommend Olive Garden as a good employer to your friends and family?

A. Yes, because Olive Garden and Darden are built on a solid, stable foundation. You can invest in the company; you can put your future in its hands.

Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?

A. I still have hair on my head! At work, I always have on my culinary hat, and when I leave, I wear a knitted cap or baseball cap, so my team members don’t realize that I actually have hair. Also, I draw really well and was training to be a graphic designer while I worked at Olive Garden. When I was close to earning my degree, the brand won me over with its great benefits such as its 401(k). Olive Garden is life for me, and I have no regrets. Everything I’ve accomplished has come from my career at Olive Garden.

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