Feeding Facebook

JWU grad Josef Desimone rarely got to cook. He was too busy developing cafés for Facebook’s 25 offices around the world — and leading an ever-growing team that prepared 7,000+ meals every weekday.

At Facebook, JWU alums Josef Desimone, Dean Spinks and Shane Bondurant guide JWU intern Stephen OwensJosef Desimone '02
“Culinary Overlord”
Facebook, Palo Alto, Calif.

Josef’s challenge? To create meals:

  • Using locally sourced ingredients
  • Cooked from scratch
  • Prepared from organic ingredients
  • Including vegetarian/vegan options
  • Coded for “level of healthiness” and food allergens

“We try not to cycle the same thing. If it’s Cuban for lunch, it’s Vietnamese for dinner. The next day it will be French bistro.”

JWU Alumni at Facebook
For Desimone, choosing JWU was simple. “You had to have a degree if you wanted a real job with any of the big players.”

He often thinks about his time at JWU — because he works with his classmate, executive chef Michael “Dean” Spinks. They met freshman year, and been friends ever since.

JWU got me into working in nicer, higher-level places,” says Spinks. “And thinking of culinary arts as more of a career than just a job.”

Business of Food Service
While Spinks got creative with menus, flavors and profiles, Desimone became the systems guy. “I can take any business and make it efficient; less waste, less cost.”

When he cooked in the kitchens himself, it was for board meetings, company meals at Mark Zuckerberg’s home and Facebook’s many charity events.

“We’re big about giving back: I don’t mind flying in and cooking. And it’s good exposure for the young guys on my team to get out there and work with chefs.”

“I Get Joy From Feeding People”
Josef died in a tragic motorcycle accident this past July. In a post with more than 191,000 likes, Mark Zuckerberg called him as “a Facebook legend and institution.”

Josef’s passion for quality ingredients and from-scratch cooking will live on at Facebook — as will his larger-than-life legacy. As he once explained to FastCo: “I never wanted to be an astronaut or a rodeo clown. I only wanted to cook. I get joy from feeding people.”

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Stephen felt prepared for his culinary internship at Facebook’s California headquarters. “The menu changes every single day, just like in my JWU classes.”  read more

My Culinary Story: Why I Chose JWU

“A chef took me aside and said, ‘If you want to cook, you need to go to JWU.’” Here’s why Stephen chose our culinary program. read more