From Cook to Chef to Director: Profile of Laura Gedicks

Chef in culinary school kitchen

Laura Gedicks wasn’t sure what she wanted to do as a career when she was younger. “I had bounced around a lot of different schools, and spent a summer traveling,” she says. But that was before her grandmother showed her a brochure about a culinary program at Seattle Central Community College. “At the time I was a cook at a nursing home, and figured cooking school would be fun.”

She found that culinary school was indeed fun. “Unlike the other schools I had attended, I felt like I was now having fun learning. For me, it was also a creative outlet. I could bring in any recipe I wanted, and the chef instructors would get the ingredients for me to test the recipe. Rather than focusing on making sure I was getting good grades (which had never worked before), I was able to concentrate on the techniques, and advice the chefs were teaching me,” she says enthusiastically.

Currently, she serves as the Dietary Director of the same nursing home she used to cook in. “Next week will be my 19 year anniversary there,” she says, “having started when I was 15. I worked my way up, while going to high school and college, spent time cooking and finally am in charge of all things food.”

She is thrilled with her career. “I love my job. I love going to work everyday, and occasionally miss it on the weekends. I love feeling like I’m making a huge difference in a resident’s life by doing what I consider such a small gesture. I love that I’m not monitored by anyone, and can plan special parties for the residents, and give them as much as I can, food related.”

She has no plans to leave her current place of employment, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have plans for the future. “I’m also enrolled, and will be starting in July, an online program to obtain a bachelors degree in restaurant and hotel management from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh,” She says. “We are in the beginning stages of remodeling, and my job will be changing, which is why I am going back to school. But I see myself staying with my current employer for a long time.”