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Jose Mejia

One of our very first Roll Models, Jose Mejia, joined the Van’s Kitchen team over three decades ago. As a young man, Jose moved to the area with nothing but the clothes on his back and a hope for a better life.

At this time, Mr. Van and Mrs. Kim owned a small Chinese restaurant, with plans to open their own small plant where they would produce made-to-love egg rolls. Jose had never had Asian food before, but happened to walk into their restaurant. Once he tried a delicious meal prepared by the Nguyen family, he was hooked and began working at the restaurant just to enjoy the fresh food from Van’s Kitchen food every day.

In the early days at Van’s Kitchen, the team was very small and Jose played a huge role in growing the business. His daily duties consisted of prepping the cabbage, which includes chopping and shredding up to a few hundred tubs a day, frying the egg rolls with manual baskets, and packing the egg rolls by hand in their sealed cases. Jose is a team player and was happy to play a part in the growth of Van’s Kitchen. 

When Jose first joined the team, he had a second grade education and spoke very little English. Mr. Van and Mrs. Kim were committed to the growth of their Roll Models and wanted to see them succeed in the world, so they provided Jose with opportunities to learn English, lessons on how to use a computer, and insight on how to manage finances.

Jose experienced a whole new world of opportunity and was able to move into his own apartment, upgrade his car, and eventually buy his first home.

Every step of the way Mr. Van and Mrs. Kim were there to provide support and guidance for Jose, and even provided a cosign signature for his new vehicle. Jose also excelled at work, and the provided training improved his efficiency at work by learning how to write an email and how to use the computer to allocate products.

Three decades later, Jose still remains an important part of Van’s Kitchen. Jose represents everything Van’s Kitchen stands for and established a life for himself through hard work and dedication. Despite any challenges throughout the years, Mr. Van and Mrs. Kim stood by Jose and walked with him through overcoming poverty, hunger, his lack of education, and always provided tough love, prayer, and assistance for his family. Today, Jose owns not just one property, but two in the United States and three rental homes in Mexico. Van’s Kitchen is proud to be a part in Jose’s journey to achieving his American dream.

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