Best Buddies Jobs and Whole Foods Market Make a Perfect Pairing


If you have ever shopped at Whole Foods Market in Pinecrest, Florida, chances are you have seen Aaron working hard behind the Prepared Foods counter.  After ten years at the store, Aaron has helped countless customers looking for a tasty, hot meal.  But don’t worry if you haven’t met him yet – Aaron intends to stick around for many years to come.

Travis and Aaron at Whole Foods Market

Aaron, right, and Travis, another member of the Prepared Foods team,
make fresh-baked pizza for Whole Foods Market customers.

In 2003, Aaron was looking for a job.  His dream job was to be a chef.  Aaron completed a culinary arts program at a local vocational school, where he learned food preparation skills.  Aaron enjoyed preparing food, and especially liked making breakfast at home.  But what Aaron wanted most was to work somewhere that would let him do what he loves, which is being around food!  That’s when Aaron found Best Buddies Jobs.  Aaron told his Employment Consultant what it is that he wanted to do, and his Employment Consultant set out to find Aaron his dream job.

When Aaron’s Employment Consultant heard that Wild Oats Natural Marketplace was hiring, they knew it was the right fit for Aaron.  They helped Aaron get an interview, and before he knew it, Aaron was officially welcomed to the team!  In just a few years, Wild Oats Natural Marketplace would become Whole Foods Market of Pinecrest.  Although lots of things within the store changed, one thing remained: Aaron’s enthusiasm and love for his job.  Not only was Aaron using his skills to as a Prepared Foods Team Member, he was learning new things every day.

By 2011, Aaron was in charge of cooking Whole Foods Market’s famous rotisserie chicken.  Aaron went in to work before the store opened and began preparing the daily flavor, seasoning and skewering each chicken before placing it in the rotisserie.  Aaron soon learned that he had a special talent for preparing the rotisserie chicken.  Word was spreading that the Pinecrest’s location had the best rotisserie chicken, and before long, Pinecrest had the highest selling percentage of rotisserie chicken in the region!Aaron’s chicken was so good, he was asked to train new team members on how to make the chicken so that others could learn his top-selling technique.  “Aaron taught me everything about making the chicken,” says Travis, a member of the Prepared Foods team.  “That’s why it’s so good!”

This year, Aaron is celebrating his ten year anniversary with Whole Foods Market.  Now instead of cooking the rotisserie chicken, Aaron works behind the scenes, preparing assorted vegetables and proteins for the many delicious dishes that Whole Foods Market serves on a daily basis.  “I’ve been here ten years,” says Aaron.  “I’ve done it all.”

Next time you are in Pinecrest and looking for a hot, ready to eat meal or snack, drop by Whole Foods Market.  Chances are Aaron had something to do with just about anything you decide to pick up, whether it’s a fresh-baked pizza, creamy macaroni and cheese, or tuna salad.  If Aaron hasn’t chopped, diced, or sliced it yet, he will soon.  After all, he’s just getting started.

Best Buddies Jobs continues the integration of people with development disabilities (IDD) into the community through supported employment. This program assists individuals to locate and maintain jobs of their own choosing by providing ongoing support and training. Our focus is on developing competitive, integrated jobs, which allow individuals to earn an income, pay taxes, and work in an environment alongside others in the community.

To learn more about the Best Buddies Jobs program in Florida, visit www.bestbuddiesflorida.org/jobs or contact Lazara Ballester at LazaraBallester@bestbuddies.org.

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About Lazara Ballester

Operations Coordinator, Jobs Program | Best Buddies Florida Developing integrated employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe counties.

One response to “Best Buddies Jobs and Whole Foods Market Make a Perfect Pairing”

  1. Janie Appelbaum says :

    So proud of you Aaron- great story on your career success. We especially appreciate the Whole Foods healthy life style you have chosen.

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