Meet Chef Johan Movido,
Senior Innovations Manager, McCormick Philippines
A job in the corporate world doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck with paperwork or a suit and tie. Johan Movido, a graduate of the Diploma in Culinary Arts & Technology Management Program, proves that it can be fun and rewarding.
Last May 2022 marked his six years in McCormick. He started as an Innovations Chef. Recently, McCormick Philippines promoted him into a senior role, which means he has chefs working with him.
He spoke to us about his culinary journey and how students should reconsider working in the corporate world:
1. What’s your advice for people that are in culinary school?
You have to look out for all opportunities and possibilities in terms of the careers of chefs. Because when I was in school, I didn’t know that there was this other world, the corporate world of chefs. It’s a different world from what we usually know in operations, right?
Even when I started, I thought, “okay, I’m going into hotels or fine dining restaurants. Get experience and put up my own business or own restaurant.”
I’ve never seen this part of the world before. I’ve never even considered it because I thought corporate meant paperwork. And I didn’t want to be in a suit and tie get-up. I’m more of an artistic guy than a corporate guy. Pero, it’s not full-on corporate.
That’s one thing I wanted to let the students know, siguro, that it can be very fun. Apart from fun, you get to meet different people within the industry, just like how we met.
You also get connections from the different parts of the food industry. For example, you have marketers who need suppliers and chefs also. Just be open to exploring other paths.
2. You recently won McDonald’s Innovative Supplier Award. Tell me about that recognition.
That award is given to the supplier who contributed a number of new products for McDonald’s, which has a significant stake in their profit in the entire business.
In the B2B world, people know McCormick because we have a consumer brand, but we have many local competitors that people aren’t aware of.
Let’s say with McDonald’s; they’ll give you a project. They’ll say, “Oh, we want to create a Korean sandwich. Present the next Korean sandwich na pasok sa target market— the price, the taste, and overall profile.
Then, all of the suppliers present on separate days. From there, the best sandwich will win. Through that process, we’ve won multiple projects. That’s why we received the award. We received the award last 2019. It was the first for McCormick. So we’re very happy and very proud.
3. What does it mean to be innovative? And how do you practice it?
Being innovative is not just being different with food. It’s being creative in how you think. It’s the thought process.
You have to have a different thought process compared to your competitors. That’s how I get an edge over the rest. I assume what they think. And I wouldn’t do that. That’s helped me get great ideas.
4. What are some trends to look out for?
We have a trends study that you can check out: McCormick Flavor Forecast 22nd edition.
Example of trends:
- Plus sweet: It means to reduce the sweetness. Sugar is no longer in the spotlight but a compliment. An example would be Tahini Brownies.
- Time as a critical ingredient: It’s about cooking productively. Examples would be quick hacks and marinades.
- Serving a point in time: Think fermentation, preservation, pickling, and curing.
5. How was your experience at CCA Manila?
My experience was thrilling. I remember the moment I entered. The receptionist said, “Johan, it’s tough here. A lot of students, you know, after a year, they don’t continue because it’s tough. It’s not just cooking.” I said, “Yeah, I know. I’m going to be tough.” I was too confident. But it helped me. Because I love cooking and it was my dream school.
I wanted to achieve what I wanted to achieve. I loved the heat. I loved the competitions and the chefs. Let’s say we’re cooking Beef Bourguignon. We’re all cooking the same recipe. But it can all turn out differently. Doon na lumalabas ang creativity.
6. What can you share with recent graduates applying for a job?
Just go for it. First of all, you have to be willing to take whatever position that is given to you. You don’t always have to start from the top. But if there’s an opportunity, grab it. But if you’re just starting, don’t be afraid to start as a cook or be a research associate. Once you prove yourself, it will be easy to go up.
Tips on getting hired:
- Build your qualifications or gain relevant experience.
- Stay longer than six months. Don’t jump from one job to another, as it would be hard to train someone who will leave quickly.
7. What’s your usual hiring process?
I usually ask on-the-spot the chef applicant, “If you were to make three new burger concepts for McDonald’s or other brands, what would it be?” This is where the applicant can showcase their creativity and innovative mind. But, this will follow a challenge: how will you sell these concepts to me, and why will McDonald’s launch this product? I’ll also check how vast their knowledge is in terms of different cuisines because we cater to a lot of B2B clients with different cuisines and requirements.
Here’s another process: after the initial interview, we conduct a practical test in the form of a market basket challenge. Then, the applicant will present the finished dish to a panel, and the panel to test their knowledge of McCormick Herbs and Spices and its usages.