Our People

Why I Came, Why I Stayed: For Kitchen Manager Austin Gunzelman, Every Meal Is an Opportunity to Show The Meaning of Care

Published: July 20, 2023

In “Why I Came, Why I Stayed,” you’ll get to know people who are making a difference every day at Methodist and how they contribute to providing The Meaning of Care. To explore career opportunities at Methodist, visit bestcare.org/jobs.


Austin Gunzelman
Manager of Food and Nutrition Services
825 Building


Tell us more about your role at Methodist.

I’m the kitchen manager for Café 825 at the 825 Building corporate offices. We offer breakfast, lunch and coffee service five days a week to Methodist employees and visiting guests. Our team of five serves around 1,200 meals per week.


Why Methodist? What attracted you to the organization?

I came to Methodist Hospital in February 2016 after Executive Chef Mike Flanagan recruited me.

“Dull hospital food” wasn’t what was being served. The kitchen at Methodist Hospital was filled with folks who cared about creating high-quality food and serving it with great customer service.

I saw The Meaning of Care in how meals were cooked and served to patients, their families and Methodist employees.


What is it about Methodist that keeps you coming back?

From my start at Methodist Hospital, it was clear that I was being presented with challenges like I never experienced.

We were always asking: “How do we do things the right way? Why do we do things the right way? How is this big task going to be broken down and accomplished by a team approach, producing extraordinary results?”

In November 2018, I landed in my current position when the 825 Building opened. The challenges we’ve had to face and overcome have been numerous, but it has been very rewarding. Every day, every meal and every challenge is an opportunity to demonstrate The Meaning of Care.

We should and do take time to reflect on what we’ve done well and what we can improve, striving to learn from our shortfalls. But we also feel a sense of pride in what we’ve accomplished.