One. Million. Steaks.
Sink your teeth into that juicy image. And imagine how dazzled LongHorn Steakhouse was when it realized that four of its more than 6,000 culinary team members had each grilled a million steaks in their careers.
The four are Simi Tamaseu from the LongHorn Steakhouse in Jacksonville Beach, FL; Mike Mort from Rome, GA; Kurt Frazer from Covington, GA; and Choya Phillips from Madison, TN. Each of them has worked for LongHorn for more than 24 years.
LongHorn recognized the fab four with a special distinction as Grill Master Legends and surprised them with their own special event attended by their restaurant teams and loyal guests. They each also received a special gold chef coat, a $2,500 award, a framed belt buckle and a visit from LongHorn Steakhouse President Todd Burrowes.
“I didn’t think I cooked a million steaks,” Simi said. “I didn’t think I cooked half that many steaks. But the compliment is a wonderful thing, and it means a lot. I’m honored to be part of this company because they put people first and that makes me happy.”
“A million steaks for this restaurant and this company means the world to me,” said Choya, who also won LongHorn’s Team Member of the Year award in 2018. Managing Partner Tamara Jones said Choya’s honor had nothing to do with her. “He was a legend before I came to this restaurant. Whenever I need somebody, I know I can ask him, and he’s always going to say, ‘I got you. What time?’ For four years, he has taken care of me, and I’m so glad that it’s going to come back to him.”
“I’m still shocked about it,” said Mike, adding that he couldn’t believe everything had been kept so secret. Managing Partner Michael Weiser called Mike a leader. “Everyone looks to him for guidance, and he sets the tone for everything coming out of the kitchen.”
Kurt said he was grateful for the recognition. “When they told me I cooked a million steaks, I was overwhelmed and surprised. I couldn’t believe it. Really, a million steaks? To celebrate my accomplishments with the company lets me know what a great team and great leaders I have.” Managing Partner Mitch Narrison echoed that. “I don’t know of any other company that would invest in its people the way LongHorn has.”
The four Legends were chosen after some sleuthing and calculations that looked at each culinary team member’s tenure, schedules and shifts at the grill as well as the average number of steaks grilled per shift.
“The foundation of LongHorn Steakhouse is, has been and always will be steak,” Todd said. “Nothing is more important. That’s why we go to extraordinary lengths to continually test, train and certify our teams’ expertise. Our Grill Master Legends have been grilling those steaks right for decades.”