chef Marianne headshot in front of fountain

Women in Culinary Leading in the Kitchen

Born and raised off the eastern shore of Maryland, Chef Marianne Zdobysz has spent most of her career working over 2,000 miles away along the west coast. From Seattle to Los Angeles, and even Alaska – her journey up and down the Pacific has awarded the invaluable experiences infused in her ethnically diverse cooking style.

chef Marianne fishing with crabs

For her entire life, Marianne has lived near the freshest seafood and began sourcing from sustainable farmers before it was even on-trend to do so. Today, as the Executive Chef at Sequoia Living Viamonte in Walnut Creek, Marianne sources locally and brings her knowledge of fresh fish and meats to the residents in her community. She’s also introduced a variety of vegan meals – catering to the diverse dietary needs of residents. Marianne and the culinary team pride themselves on the fact that all of their produce is sourced within a 200-mile radius. At Sequoia Living, the team has also incorporated the use of organic ingredients, providing only the best for residents.

A pioneer in the industry, Chef Marianne recalls being one of just a handful of women chefs in Seattle in the late ‘80s. Fast-forward to 2021, Marianne is one of 28 women in culinary chosen to compete in Compass Group’s second annual Chef Challenge. As a participant, she will go head-to-head in a four-round series, embarking on an unforgettable voyage where she will get the opportunity to network with top culinarians from across the company.

We sat down with Marianne for a quick chat ahead of the competition.

Hi, Marianne – It’s so great to chat with you before the chef challenge heats up. Speaking of, I’m sure you’re excited about this opportunity. What are you looking forward to the most?

“I can’t wait to meet all of the different women and see what they all bring to the table. Creating friendships and continually learning from each other is what it’s all about.”

What makes you most nervous about the competition?

“Not winning. I just want to make Morrison Living proud.”

We are already beyond proud of you! I know you can’t tell us what you plan to make for the challenge, but just in general, what would you say is your signature dish?

“I love making anything with lamb – shoulder, legs, stew – it’s all an experience.”

As a chef, you’ve probably tried almost every type of food there is. What is one food item that you simply do not like?

“I don’t prefer sheep heads or pig’s feet. I did eat the brain, heart, and everything else on the carcass of an animal while on a 14-day excursion in Argentina.”

Oh, wow! You like adventure. Alright, so let’s say it’s your last weekend on planet Earth. Where in the world are you eating?

“Paris. I’ve gotta go with the French. They know what they’re doing!”

They do, indeed. Marianne, last question here. What are you most proud of in your career?

“I am most proud to work in senior living. It’s just one of those feel-good things to be able to surprise people with really good food. It births a sense of pride in what I do. I aim to give them peace through food, so they can enjoy the rest of their lives.”

chef Marianne cooking and in teaching kitchen

Be sure to follow Morrison Living and Compass Group to stay informed on Marianne’s performance in the Women in Culinary Chef Challenge!