High-profile Chef Joins Salvation Army


 The following was originally featured on The Salvation Army Northern Division‘s website and later covered by Local News KARE11 in St. Paul, MN. 

Jeff Ansorge had spent eight years as executive chef at one of the finest and most prestigious restaurants in Minneapolis. But when he became a Christian two years ago, he just couldn’t do the job anymore. Something had changed.

“The world as I had known it stopped making sense,” said Jeff, 40. “I was working to drive profit and my whole being – physically and mentally – was rejecting it. I needed to do something with my culinary skills to serve the Lord.”

Today he’s doing just that as head chef at the St. Paul Payne Ave. Salvation Army, where he cooks free hot lunches for about 100 people per day.

Jeff started working there in October 2012. He soon discovered the job is every bit as challenging as his old one because – like all Salvation Army chefs – he never knows what meals he’ll be cooking from one day to the next.

“We have to adapt to whatever food arrives on the loading dock every morning,” said Jeff, who has associate and bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts and food service management, respectively. “I love the challenge.”

One day, he received a delicious (and atypical) donation: a case of crab. With some quick thinking, he began cooking the crustaceans with an assortment of vegetables, sausages, seafood and rice. That day, the homeless and working poor would enjoy a Spanish delicacy: seafood paella.

Jeff relies on the support of volunteer cooks and community service workers, opening their shift with a Christian devotional and – as a thank you – a brief cooking lesson on the day’s lunch. Beyond cooking, he enjoys the job because he’s free to express his faith to the people he serves and the volunteers who help him out.

“I’m doing what I love, for people I love, for the person I love – Jesus Christ,” Jeff said.

Got fresh food to donate?

Jeff and other Salvation Army chefs rely on donations of fresh foods. Without these donations, they’re forced to use precious Salvation Army resources to buy what they need. Salvation Army food shelves experience the same thing.

You can help by donating fresh produce and other perishables. Simply call your local Salvation Army and ask what they need. If you’ve got a green thumb, donating won’t cost you a dime – simply plant an extra row of veggies in your garden and donate the abundance.


Craig Dirkes is a public relations writer and photographer for The Salvation Army Northern Division. Check out The Salvation Army Northern Division’s website for all the updates by clicking here, or find them on Facebook by visiting https://www.facebook.com/SalvationArmyNorth.