For George Wasai, working for the Dallas Cowboys was something he never saw coming, but today cannot imagine any other kind of career.
Setting the goal: The food and beverage director for Legends Hospitality, the contract foodservice company handling foodservice operations at Cowboys Stadium, says working in the industry initially was a way to earn money and ensure he had enough to eat while still in high school. A winner of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 2018 Faces of Diversity award, he never imagined that that first job would lead to the longtime, rewarding career he has today.
Wasai, who immigrated to the United States from Ghana, began working ‑‑ with his brother James ‑‑ as a dishwasher in a restaurant. “We started off … in high school,” he said, and it’s true … we couldn’t afford food. One thing we knew was that by working in a restaurant, you could eat for free and get to take food home.”
The Cowboy way: Wasai’s journey with the storied NFL team began in 1990, when he started working as a dishwasher at Cowboys Stadium, now known as AT&T Stadium. Today, 28 seasons later, he is responsible for developing signature menu items, like a holiday waffle made of stuffing and topped with either ham or turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce. But better than that, he develops community outreach programs, including helping to raise funds for nonprofit organizations and hiring and mentoring staffers with special needs. Wasai, who stutters, is happiest helping others overcome their challenges to prosper in life.
Meanwhile, down on the farm: So far, Wasai has created a partnership with Paul Quinn College in south Dallas that helps subsidize its student-run farm. In the mid-2000s, the school ended its football program and turned the football field into what would become the farm. Now, students grow the produce and participate in a work-study program that helps them pay their tuition costs. Through Wasai’s support, the Cowboys have become the farm’s biggest client, using the locally grown produce in dishes served during the season.
Work hard, play hard: Wasai, who considers himself fortunate to work for Legends Hospitality, tells others to work hard and pursue their goals and dreams. He stresses to them that success is within their grasp.
“Life is not a race; it’s a journey,” he says. “Don’t ever give up. Always believe in yourself.”
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