Sous chef Thomas takes care of Health Center residents
Amy Weiss | Jun 10, 2021
“We take care of people,” said sous chef Thomas Gaetz about working at the Walker Methodist Health Center. During the challenges of the past year, that care has meant the world to residents. Thomas joined the team in June, in the middle of a global pandemic. “I hadn’t worked in healthcare before, and I had never worked during a pandemic,” he said. But Thomas was ready for a something new—and he found the right place.
Experienced in the culinary industry, Thomas previously worked at Sea Change at the Guthrie Theater, 4 Bells, and the Dakota jazz club in Minneapolis. He also helped open Burch Steak and Pizza. While working in restaurants was fun at first, Thomas realized that it wasn’t the kind of sustainable long-term job he wanted. When many restaurants closed temporarily or permanently in 2020, he decided it was time to make a change.
Though the people he serves are different, Thomas found the basic mission of working at the Health Center the same as his years in restaurants: “We feed people and make them happy.” As sous chef, he manages the kitchen, making sure team members have the food and equipment they need to do their jobs. Thomas is known for thinking on his feet and improvising, and he’ll be the first to say he feels at home in a kitchen. “I can’t imagine having any other job,” he explained. “I can walk into any kitchen and feel comfortable.
Having people like Thomas in the kitchen at the Health Center, along with other team members like dietitians, means that residents get the nutrition they need—while enjoying meals they love. “I know we are doing good work,” he summarized. “The residents here deserve the best.”