Jeff Wuollet’s passions for people and food come together at Walker Methodist
Jeff Wuollet has been cooking for as long as he can remember. Growing up in a family of six, he learned how to prepare meals alongside his mom. She tried to teach all his siblings as well, but only Jeff truly enjoyed being in the kitchen. “From a young age, I saw how food could bring people together. My mom used to be a chef, and she shared her skills to teach me. We cooked simple things, but that’s where it all began.”
Jeff discovered his passion for older adults at a young age, too. In high school, his first job was a dishwasher, and then cook, at a local senior living community. Surprisingly, a culinary-focused internship at Disney World helped Jeff determine the career he wanted to pursue: “During that internship, I learned so much about customer service, operations, teamwork, and hospitality. The only thing missing was older adults.” So, Jeff went to culinary arts school, earned a certificate in food service management for healthcare, and became a certified dietary manager through the Association of Nutrition and Food Service Professionals (where he currently serves as a board member).
Years later, with more education and a new title, he still finds himself drawn to the kitchen. As director of culinary services at Walker Methodist, Jeff spends his time supporting culinary teams, sharing ideas, offering feedback, troubleshooting problems, overseeing kitchens, and more. “I get to do a bit of everything, and it’s really fun.” he explained, “Basically, my job is to help our culinary teams succeed and offer the best service possible to our residents.”
Jeff also makes it a goal to invest in his team, providing education and opportunities for growth. Recently, he brought some team members on a visit to General Mills. During their trip, chefs from General Mills shared creative ways to use products, tips on utilizing leftovers, and more. “There’s a really amazing food scene in the Twin Cities,” said Jeff. “Making food can be passionate and artistic, but it’s also scientific and methodical. I want our teams to learn from local experts and bring that knowledge into our kitchens.”
He also shares his dual passion for food and seniors with students at Hennepin Technical College. As an adjunct culinary faculty member, Jeff teaches classes like leadership in culinary, menu management, beverage management, and more. “I enjoy working with younger people, too.” Jeff commented. “I get to expose students to culinary careers in healthcare. Some of them may not even know careers like this exist, so I love sharing my unique perspective.”
Jeff will be the first to tell you that he does what he does for a simple reason: making a difference, every day: “We have to eat to live. That’s a common denominator we all share. But food is so much more than that. It’s a meaningful, important, and personal way to connect. I’m honored to have a role in the best part of some residents’ days.”
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