Confessions of Neal Lavender

Neal Lavender, director of food and nutrition services at Florida Hospital Orlando, loves Costco, hates food trucks and wishes he could have been in attendance to hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speech.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

Working with my foodservice team at Florida Hospital. They are a true pleasure, and I appreciate their work.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

Too much paperwork, which keeps me tied to the office and gives me less time with my employees.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Being a terrific father and husband. I have a great family life and weekends are always an adventure with them!

Q. What is the most unusual foodservice/catering request you have ever received?

To start a wild game menu in the doctor’s lounge at a hospital in Houston. We had elk as a menu item. I do not recommend it as it is a really bloody meat. Still, the doctors loved it.

Q. If you had a time machine what historical event or era would you visit?

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

A pilot’s license. My father was a pilot and really enjoyed it. I took lessons years ago but did not have the time or money to get the license.

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

More hair. Tough to be in sunny Florida with thinning hair.

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

Trekking across the Himalayan Mountains.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

The Peacemaker Po-Boy sandwich with a Voodoo beer at Mahony’s in New Orleans.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Visiting Costco on payday.

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

My four-burner Brinkman gas grill. This thing can rock some food for any social gathering!

Q. What food fad do you wish had never started?

Food trucks. Not appealing, and I question the sanitation methods for cooking foods and washing hands.

Q. What activity is at the top of your bucket list?

Spending New Year’s Eve in New York and watching the ball drop at midnight.

Q. What are your words to live by?

Have a purpose-driven life. Find that purpose and ensure that you are giving back to those less fortunate.