Timothy Gee

Timothy Gee's organizational and leadership skills have helped him succeed at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Why Selected?

According to Tony Almeida, director of food & nutrition, Timothy has improved foodservice at Robert Wood Johnson by:

• Demonstrating excellent organizational and leadership skills

• Spending the time and energy to build a team of culinarians who are trained to produce great quality food

• Setting high standards for where he wants his team to be in the next year 

Details

Executive Chef, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ
Age: 29
Education: Culinary Institute of America

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Developing my team. I quickly realized that most of the culinary team were promoted from within and were never properly trained. Most of them just knew how to open cans. My goal was to develop them to become seasoned, creative culinarians. After one year we were competing in culinary competitions throughout the state of New Jersey. My team always will be my pride.
 

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

I am not stuck in my ways and have the ability to adjust to any situation without my staff feeling stressed. Bringing that calm demeanor to a stressful environment helps my staff trust my direction and achieve what we are setting out to do.
 

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
 

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

My age. Some people were a little skeptical of how strong of a leader I could be considering my age when I first became an executive chef.
 

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

My goal is to be a foodservice director in five years. I really enjoy working in a high-volume operation. I will continue to grow personally and professionally.

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

Two weeks into my first executive chef position an employee accidently pulled the [fire suppression] system and it went off all over the food for the [patient] dinner service. There was no fire so when I got shot in the face unexpectedly with the liquid I almost fell over. My team was great, though. We went to the café kitchen and completed service.
 

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

Getting completely lost when I first started and ending up in the emergency room. A nurse saw me and said, “I don’t usually see the chef in the ER, but I would love to see you cooking my lunch.” She was very kind and gave me the directions I needed. I now know my way around like it’s home. And the nurse enjoyed a nice lunch, too!
 

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

Ideas and Innovation
business card

We get the new folks abridged business cards saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work in nutrition department.” We thought it would give them more ownership of the program and elevate their status and position in the organization. It also gives our team more self-confidence and self-worth as an employee, which can be a challenge with foodservice workers.

Ideas and Innovation
tug hospital robot

Automation has opened up in recent years as foodservice operators across the country grapple with labor shortages. Robots deliver food trays to patients in hospitals, and they make sushi on college campuses. For some operators, they’re worthwhile to reduce strain on human employees and increase productivity.

Robots roamed the hallways when the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s new Mission Bay campus opened last year. Though these robots have nicknames like Wall-E and Tuggie McFresh, they’re not a novelty. They’re a solution to a problem that administrators...

FSD Resources