img emmanuel sarkodie
Emmanuel Sarkodie
Cook

When Emmanuel Sarkodie moved from Ghana to the United States in 1996, he was seeking new opportunities. He had spent his life learning from his mother, who cooked for 10 high schools in Ghana, and chose to follow her path of helping people in her community through food.

Emmanuel was first working at a local prison as a cook when he visited a patient at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center (SNVMC), which at the time was still named Potomac Hospital. He says he was just in the right place at the right time when he happened to see a job posting and decided to apply. That visit shaped the 24 years of his career.

Continually inspired by his mother, Emmanuel cooks breakfast and lunch for team members, patients and families at SNVMC—nearly 500 meals per day. To provide for specific patient needs as well as cultural preferences, he often prepares up to 20 variations of each meal.

Emmanuel says his team have become tight-knit over the years and enjoy eating lunch together after the lunch rush and often attend church together.

“It’s nice to be a part of a team with a purpose,” he explains. “No matter what they are doing that day, everybody needs to eat. Food can be comforting and healing, and we take great pride in providing those things to our team members, patients and visitors.”

For several years, Emmanuel’s workday didn’t actually end when his Sentara shift was over.

“I owned a wholesale bakery and cooked all day and baked all night,” Emmanuel says. “I still dream about opening a bakery again someday.”

Emmanuel’s favorite things to cook are traditional Ghanaian dishes, like jollof rice with fried plantains, and Chinese food.

Emmanuel Sarkodie
Cook

When Emmanuel Sarkodie moved from Ghana to the United States in 1996, he was seeking new opportunities. He had spent his life learning from his mother, who cooked for 10 high schools in Ghana, and chose to follow her path of helping people in her community through food.

Emmanuel was first working at a local prison as a cook when he visited a patient at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center (SNVMC), which at the time was still named Potomac Hospital. He says he was just in the right place at the right time when he happened to see a job posting and decided to apply. That visit shaped the 24 years of his career.