Food probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind when you think of a hospital.
But food is an important part of patient care. There are teams of people working hard to bring nutritious food to patients, staff, and visitors multiple times a day.
We chatted with first cook Teresa Cardona, who has spent nearly 3 decades making food at Cedars-Sinai, about her job and her life outside of work.
What do you do at Cedars-Sinai?
Teresa Cardona: My position is first cook, so I cook for the whole hospital. For 26 years, I worked in the kosher kitchen, but I recently moved to a different area. I wanted to switch things up, and now I have weekends off!
What inspired you to pursue this career?
TC: Growing up in El Salvador, I always wanted to go to school to be a chef. I moved to the United States in 1979 and worked a night shift at the airport. I was looking for a position with more regular hours so I could spend more time with my daughter, so that’s how I ended up at Cedars-Sinai.
How old is your daughter? Any grandkids?
TC: My daughter is 32, and my grandkids are 9 and 4. We all live together and are very close.
What’s your favorite thing to do with your grandkids?
TC: Taking them to dance class—ballet—is my favorite thing.
What is the best part of your job?
TC: I love getting good feedback about the food I make.
What’s your favorite food to make at Cedars-Sinai?
TC: Brisket—the whole process takes 3 days but it’s worth it at the end.
What do you like to do outside of work?
TC: I like to go to the gym and I take sewing classes. I also make piñatas!
Where’s your favorite place to go in LA?
TC: San Pedro and Hermosa Beach.
Do you have any pets?
TC: Yes! We have a golden retriever named Cosmo. He’s only 6 months old.
Anything else you’d like to share?
TC: I love working at Cedars-Sinai. I’m so happy here and I feel so grateful when I’m recognized for my hard work. Four years ago, I got the President’s Award, the most prestigious award of recognition for Cedars-Sinai employees, and it made me so happy.