Meet Chef Marleny “Ingrid” Castillo – Executive Kitchen Manager, Kings Burlington
Meet Marleny Castillo aka Chef Ingrid! Born in Honduras, Chef Ingrid came to the United States in 2011 in search of better opportunities. Chef grew up in a busy household, as one of 15 siblings. Family has and continues to be special to Chef as she and her husband raise their two beautiful children.
In Honduras, when she wasn’t playing with her siblings, Chef Ingrid was cooking. She started cooking when she was a little girl, beginning her first restaurant job at just 11 years old starting off in the pantry station. As she grew older, her passion for the restaurant business continued to grow as she learned more about the culinary arts and developed a passion for creating recipes. Chef Ingrid landed her first big restaurant job with Daily Burgers, a very popular burger chain in Honduras that was extremely high volume and a favorite among the locals.
As she grew older, and she searched for better opportunities and growth, Chef Ingrid traveled to the United States and was excited to begin her next adventure. She started working at Jimmy’s Pizza in Lowell, MA, a small privately-owned pizza and sub shop with two locations. Chef Ingrid started on salads, a throwback to her younger years, but she was determined to learn it all. She worked her way through each station and learned the ins and outs to Jimmy’s Pizza – quickly picking up everything she needed to be successful, quick and efficient, earning three promotions throughout her journey.
After she mastered Jimmy’s Pizza, Chef Ingrid was looking for her next challenge, an opportunity to expand her culinary knowledge. That’s when Chef Ingrid applied to Kings in Lynnfield and took her step into the newly opened dining & entertainment venue as a line cook. Kings’ scratch kitchen added a layer of experience into Ingrid’s ever growing culinary playbook. Learning high volume scratch kitchen food service and catering groups that ranged in size from 10-500 people proved to be a welcome challenge. Chef Ingrid worked hard to learn every station on the line from Pantry, Pizza, Grill, Sautee and Prep. Having mastered each station she earned the respect of the entire team which developed her natural leadership skills and earned her the role of line supervisor and shortly after this, Assistant Kitchen Manager.
Chef Ingrid is a natural leader, building her rapport with her staff and holding them accountable is what made her stand out. Respect was earned due to a tenacious drive to improve, teach and maintain the highest standards all while having a focus on developing the team around her and supporting their goals. In late 2016 Chef Ingrid was promoted to the well-deserved role as Executive Kitchen Manager at Kings Lynnfield, a promotion that was celebrated by those she worked with.
In late 2017, Chef Ingrid transferred to one of our highest volume locations, Burlington, MA, eager for new challenges and opportunities within our company, now running the culinary team in the largest venue in the company. Working in a larger kitchen, with a larger team, Chef had to start from scratch, building the same rapport and camaraderie in the Burlington kitchen as she did in Lynnfield. She quickly began to establish cross training among the stations and identified leaders among the team who could help support the demanding volume that Burlington does. The culinary team became stronger, motivated and eager after Chef joined their team. She continued to prove that her leadership and mentoring was a strength that came naturally.
If you’re lucky enough to catch Chef Ingrid working the “expo” station, you see the tremendously high standards she keeps and her deep knowledge of food as she never sends out a dish that isn’t up to her meticulous standards. If you have a manager visit your table to apologize for a delay, it is typically because Chef Ingrid “pushed back” a plate of food that she did not approve of and her team is working diligently to improve the dish.
Kings believes in diversity in all roles with well over half of the company’s "leaders" being strong and passionate woman who occupy the many important roles within Kings. Chef Ingrid is a shining example of a female in a Culinary Senior Leadership role in our organization which is a role that has been previously predominantly occupied by males in most companies. From her female line cooks, to prep cooks right down to her Assistant Kitchen Manager Lily, Ingrid maintains the diversity and has been an inspirational leader to many female “Heart of House” team members who look up to her for her admirable strength, agility, knowledge and finesse. Chef Ingrid’s commitment of a nurturing development of her team will continue to disrupt the statistic and inspire many other future Chef’s to follow in her footsteps.
The next time you stop by Kings Burlington for a night of food and fun, please ask for Chef Ingrid or pass along your compliments to her and her team’s food. Every great Chef thrives on the happiness that their hard work and consistent delivery of their recipes brings to their guests.