Chef Manager

UNC Rex Healthcare

Raleigh, N.C.

Age: 40

Proudest career accomplishment in the past year:

Helping lead our team through changes. We underwent a major six-month renovation phase that moved our main kitchen production to one of our smaller cafes. We figured out how to produce the same high-quality meals than our patients and staff are used to in a much smaller space. We also redesigned our retail for that cafe and developed a robust grab-and-go program that helped drive our sales when we reopened after the renovation. 

Most rewarding moment so far:

Cooking demos in general are one of the best parts of my job. I have one demo I do with smaller groups: salmon en papillote. This is so much fun for the guests. It’s hands-on, and then they get to eat their own product. 

Best career advice you’ve been given:

After working with my current director for a few years, he was conducting my annual review and said that no doubt I have the “chef” part down but that I needed to focus on the “manager” part. Our talk changed how I perceived myself in my role and really helped me interact and build better relationships with my staff, ultimately leading to better morale and productivity.

How the industry will change:

As we pivot because of the impact of COVID-19, we will see self-service be dialed back, for sure. Things like salad bars and buffets will become chef-manned action stations, and fine dining will really have to look at its model. That part of the industry is built on “touches” and a lot of personal interaction that I don’t see today’s customers really wanting for some time. Fast casual is set to lead the way as long as they can incorporate the healthy options that customers will still demand.