Agnouce “Jr” Fontaine is a long way from home, but he’s found a new family at The British Beer Company.
Jr, as everyone calls him (he’s named after his dad, hence the “junior”), has been the Kitchen Manager at the Manchester BBC since 2016 and is known for his positive attitude that makes everyone in the kitchen feel welcome.
“He is one of the most dedicated people I know,” Manchester BBC manager Rachael Scarboro says of September’s Employee of the Month. “He always comes to work with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. He makes everyone in the kitchen feel welcome and appreciated, which creates great teamwork throughout his staff. It is a pleasure to work with Jr because he always keeps you laughing!”
That dedication stems from back when he first came in America in 1994 from Port au Prince, Haiti and began working at a Miami IHOP as a bus boy.
“One day I was talking to the chef and he showed me his paycheck. At the time, I was making like $150 a week and he was making twice as much. I said, ‘How can I do that?’”
The chef took him under his wing and on his days off, Jr learned how to cook. Eventually, he moved up to line cook and went on to cook for a number of restaurants after that. He also gained more skills through Job Corps.
“Once you like what you do, you can go beyond with it,” he says.
In New Hampshire, he had been working at Chili’s for seven years when the building was acquired by British Beer Company.
“He worked very hard to build himself up from a line cook to the kitchen manager in Manchester and strives to be the best he can every day,” says Scarboro.
A Kitchen Manager runs the whole show in the kitchen, from everyday tasks like ordering food, cooking on the line to creating specials for lunch and dinner or going to offsite events to promote BBC with food samples.
“They are the heart of the kitchen and keep it organized and running well,” adds Scarboro.”They are responsible for keeping a clean kitchen and holding our food to the highest standards by following health code guidelines and keeping fresh food in house. They direct the rest of the kitchen staff on a daily basis so everyone is on the same page and shifts run smoothly, so guests can have a great experience in our pubs.”
“It’s all about teamwork at BBC,” Jr says. “Everyone there is so great. I try to make sure there’s more love on the plate!”
Manchester BBC patrons most ordered menu items include Fish & Chips, the New England Pasty (“my son’s favorite!”) and the specials.
On his days off he likes to walk, follows the Miami Dolphins and has become a diehard Red Sox fan. He eats out once a week. Someday, he hopes to open his own restaurant.
Does he miss Haiti?
“I go back when I miss it,” Jr says. “People there have a lot of love to offer.”