Our Secret Weapon

A Staff Administrative Assistant? If you are wondering what that exactly means, It’s pretty much code language for “Does anything that’s needed by the department!’

It’s not a glamorous job by any means, as it involves basically doing certain tasks that others don’t want to do. Its having the difficult phone conversations, and answering the odd emails. Its running out to the store to get a last minute chef request like pickled diakon root,  covering for somebody who has missed a deadline, or going to the bakery in rush hour to pick up a custom cake for an event. All of this, coupled with endless trips to the copy center, followed by countless elevator rides to diffuse certain situations throughout. But if you have the right person sitting in this seat, it creates a whole new dynamic for your team.

Enter Tara Freeman to the story.

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Here, we have somebody in a role that I believe to be a cut above the rest. An outlier to the culinary team, who in her own behind the scenes kind of way, has a huge part of the success of our team.

A few examples why…A new bakery opens up in downtown Raleigh, don’t worry, she’s bringing the chefs samples of their signature treats. A small taqueria opens up that’s causing a local buzz, she’s right there with a copy of the menu. A trendy chef is planning a new eatery that the locals are craving, Tara’s spreading the news. All of this helps keep us inspired, fresh and up to date.

 Additionally, she’s organizing food truck rodeo’s, weight loss competitions, and United Way fundraising events throughought the organization. This is all on top of her normal day to day responsibilities, which can become quite cumbersome at times. Here is a few pictures of what I believe is the first ever  Food Truck Rodeo at a hospital, put together by Tara a few months back.



    To many members of our team, I usually encourage them  to leave their outside world at the back door when coming to work. We need you to focus on the job. But with some, (like Tara) her  outside world input is expected and needed. It’s infectious, and makes us better chefs. Tara reminds us how important it is to keep our fingers on the pulse of the food industry around us.

    Also, with her food knowledge and passion for good eats, her feedback is very meaningful to our chef team. If we cook something new, chances are, Tara is one of the first few people to sample it. With a true passion for well prepared food, as well as industry related trends, her feedback is welcomed, and has helped shape some of our new recipes into fruition. If something’s not right, she is also going to let you know. As a chef, that has been a huge part of my success,  recognizing, and acting on things that need improvement. I appreciete Tara’s ability to tell it like it is, when others may just tell you what you want to hear.

Chefs can sometimes let their egos take control, and eventually steer away from anybody that provides negative feedback. ith Tara, its welcomed. Her feedback  and critique has been a huge part of the success of our program, especially with some of our newer successful recipes.

 Having Tara on board, it’s exciting to hear what she will bring next to share with the team. With her ear to the ground with the local Raleigh dining scene, she continually brings fresh ideas to the table. Working with a gang of chefs, she is exactly what is needed to keep us fresh and constantly driving forward.  She’s a huge part of our recipe for success. And that’s what’s up.

About Chef Ryan CEC

I'm the Executive Chef for Rex Healthcare's Culinary & Nutritional Services team in Raleigh, NC. We are doing some amazing things. We are changing the perception of "Hospital Food"- one meal at a time.
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