Josh Nees is a man of many talents.
The Akron Firestone High School grad can be found playing the drums at night and along the sidelines in a drumline at Cleveland Browns games and even in the stands for the Cleveland Cavs.
But during the day, he plies his culinary skills chopping, slicing and dicing and grilling up ingredients at the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Warrensville Heights.
And now he can be seen on a 15-second nationally televised ad for the popular fast-casual restaurant chain as part of its Behind the Foil documentary-style advertising campaign.
It all started a couple years ago, Nees said, when he was doing some online training for Chipotle and saw they were looking for crewmembers interested in participating in the ads.
“I saw that and I said, ‘I am so going to do this,'” said the 30-year-old Highland Square resident.
And so he created a 30-second audition video where he touted his love and skill of cutting lettuce as clean and neat as “Easter grass.”
The rest is, well, showbiz history.
He found himself in Hollywood working with an Oscar award-winning writer who was hired by Chipotle to direct the documentary-style short commercials.
The ad starring Nees touts that the “grill is the heart of the kitchen.”
Although he graduated from Firestone’s performing arts program, Nees admits now it was all still a bit intimidating.
“This was Hollywood and the director has an Oscar, so I had to really step up,” he said.
He’s worked at Chipotle since 2014, starting out at the Howe Avenue location in Cuyahoga Falls before being transferred to Cuyahoga County.
His love for the chain comes from working with all the fresh ingredients.
And that’s why he is still not tired of preparing and even consuming Chipotle.
He’s tried everything on the menu with every ingredient variation possible.
His current go-to order is a simple chicken burrito with white rice, corn salsa, sour cream and cheese.
After the filming, he went back to the kitchen at Chiptole where he works as a service manager.
It wasn’t until February that he started getting texts from friends throughout the country saying that they had just watched him on a TV commercial.
He admits he’s not exactly a celebrity but he does get some notice, particularly when he’s at work.
“I’ll hear a shout from someone in line saying, ‘Hey, I saw your commercial,'” Nees said.
Craig Webb, who is a fan of a simple steak burrito with light white rice, double fajita vegetable, sour cream and cheese, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.