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Portrait Project: Alex Brown, Bruce Mitchell III, and Justin Martineau

Alex Brown, Executive Chef

Bruce Mitchell III, Sous Chef

Justin Martineau, Sous Chef

“Food service and hospitality go hand in hand.”

Together, Executive Chef Alex Brown and his skilled team of Sous Chefs, Bruce Mitchell III and Justin Martineau, possess 79 combined years of culinary experience. Each holds an extraordinary passion for food preparation and hospitality.

Brought together by friendly connections—Alex recruited Bruce after working with him at various country clubs, and Justin made his way to The Forest after meeting Alex’s wife through his job at Panera Bread—the team is an unstoppable force of food service excellence. Neither of the Sous Chefs worked in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) before arriving at The Forest at Duke but both equally love the recognition and sincere appreciation they receive from residents. “I like making people happy with food,” Bruce, who began in food service working under the table as a dishwasher when he was 12 years old, beams.

Bruce showed real interest in cooking when he was about 15 years old and spent his time at work observing chefs in the kitchen so that he could learn their trade. He has now been part of the dining world for 44 years. Justin, who has alternatively been in the industry for five years, got his feet wet at Panera and jumped into the trade headfirst after joining The Forest at Duke. “I love interacting with everyone,” he shares with a smile.

Alex, the kitchen team’s fearless leader, began serving The Forest community in 2016 but started his culinary career in 1991. His heart is most definitely in his work, as he finds joy in not only leading his team, but preparing delicious spreads for residents and team members alike. “The quality of life here is remarkable,” he says.

Team members since 2016, 2019, and 2019