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

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Ideas and Innovation
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We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

Ideas and Innovation
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Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

Ideas and Innovation
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We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

Ideas and Innovation
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We have reorganized our salad bars to not only include the traditional DIY salad ingredients, but also several daily entree salads. Our students requested 32-ounce heavy glass salad bowls that have been wildly popular. The big bowls allow students to load up on their favorite salads and customize with additional ingredients from around the servery. We have seen a significant surge in usage that cuts across all groups, including athletes.

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