Concordia resident leans on skills and experience to raise culinary bar at regional hospital

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Roberto Gutierrez
(Contributed image)

Fitzgibbon Hospital in Marshall has a new executive chef. Concordia resident Roberto Gutierrez, CEC, CC, recently accepted the position and brings a long history of culinary expertise to the hospital. Nutritional Services manager Jean Tumlinson said everyone is very excited about working with Gutierrez.

“We are excited to have Roberto as our chef,” she said. “He has been bringing lots of great recipes to Café Fitz, and he is actually teaching the cooks new skills. Everyone is learning from him and we are looking to raise the bar and take Café Fitz to a higher level.”

Gutierrez received his vocational training at the American Culinary Federation in Colorado. ACF is a top-rated program that is known nationally for instilling high standards in their students. He has served as a chef in communities from North Dakota to New Mexico, starting his career with a four-year stint alongside Chef Paul Purdohme in New Orleans. From there he moved out to Los Angels to work in a premiere farm-to-table restaurant, literally going out each morning to a local farm to pick fruits and vegetables for that day’s menu. He has also worked in Taos, N.M., and most recently started two restaurants in the St. Louis area.

Gutierrez found his way from St. Louis to Concordia after his wife, Kelly, accepted a job opportunity in Concordia.

“I have 14 grandchildren who live in Clinton, Wentzville and Fort Scott, Kansas,” he said. “After moving to Concordia, I heard about Fitzgibbon Hospital and the excellent reputation it has in the region. When I learned they were looking for a chef, I decided to apply.”

Gutierrez says it is important for him to work for a tightknit, family-based organization, and believes that is what he found at Fitzgibbon.

“I am impressed every day with the crew I work with in the kitchen,” he said. “And I am also very impressed with the hospital administration. They have an open door policy – the kind I haven’t seen in a long time. It truly is open door.”

Prior to taking on the challenge of culinary trade, Gutierrez he served four years as a field medic in the U.S. Navy, and then served three and one-half years in the reserves. Nowadays, when he isn’t cooking, he said he likes to watch his grandkids play soccer and wrestle.

“I also like to go shopping for antiques,” he said. I’m always looking for that special find.”

Gutierrez said his hope is that he can help the cafeteria at Fitzgibbon Hospital give guests and patients a good experience through great service and quality food. Tumlinson said the public will soon be able to experience the positive changes.

“We are getting ready for a major community event coming up in early September,” she said. “We will be preparing high-end hors d’oeuvres and upscale desserts for the function. We are all really looking forward to it.”

Well, as they say …. bon appétit!

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