Serving up Excellence with Passion
Written by: Chef Cary Neff on April 10, 2017
At Morrison Healthcare, our power lies in our people: people who are committed to high-quality care and service. Such is true about Chef Tom Sewell, a dedicated Morrison Healthcare chef who strives to serve up high-quality care and meals to patients and caregivers at UF Health in Jacksonville, FL. Chef Sewell leads a dynamic UF Health culinary team who daily prepare 2,100 patient meals and serve 5,000 caregivers across four separate Morrison Healthcare cafés in a 695-bed hospital.
Chef Sewell’s love for exceptional food and service started early. Growing up, his family always had fresh food in their house. “[I] didn’t even know there was bread at the store until I was ten. We used to make [it] at home.” Thinking back on those days, Chef Sewell says he spent a great deal of time in the kitchen, especially during the holidays. During those times, he watched his mother cook her famous ravioli dish, a recipe he recalls as sought after throughout the neighborhood. Friends and family would pour into their home during the holiday season, sometimes filling their home with 40 people in a matter of minutes. These moments, filled with good food and people he loved stirred a passion for food and service, ultimately inspiring him to pursue culinary school.
By 1993, Chef Sewell earned his culinary degree from Johnson and Wales in Providence, RI. After graduation, he started his career working in restaurants around Boston. He even worked as a line cook at the Concord Colonial Inn in Massachusetts, originally built in 1716 and famous for its rich American history. At the Concord Colonial Inn, he was promoted to Sous Chef and later moved on to become the Executive Sous Chef at both the Museum of Science (Boston) and the prestigious John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University).
Despite an already outstanding resume and sharp culinary skills, Chef Sewell like so many other world-class chefs still wanted to grow. When Chef Sewell moved to UF Health in 2016 to serve as the Senior Executive Chef, he was mentored by Morrison Healthcare’s Corporate Executive Chef Jason Boulle. “Without Jason Boulle, I would not be getting recognized. [He’s] been an incredible resource.”
There’s certainly much to be proud of and grateful for, but Chef Sewell says none of it would be possible without his incredible team at UF Health. “I am most proud of [the] team we’ve build here. We have a lot of rising stars, and I get to be the leader, but [the team] makes it happen every day.” This “make it happen” mentality shows when the team is seen working together in the kitchen. “We make all of our soups, sauces, gravy, and items like meatloaf from scratch,” says Sewell.
These kinds of details, of course, are what set Chef Sewell and the Morrison team apart. The focus on fresh food certainly helps patients’ well-being, but Chef Sewell explains hospital staff is also top of mind. His team goes the extra mile when serving caregivers because “they are incredible at taking care of patients who are sick.”
Looking forward, Chef Sewell and his team will have even more opportunities to serve patients and caregivers when UF Health opens its new facility near the Jacksonville Airport area this May. Chef Sewell says serving at Morrison has been a great experience and is grateful for the opportunity he and his team have to put their best foot forward each day.