OGDEN -- When most people think of a chef, they think of someone who cooks food -- end of story.
Well, think again.
Chefs mix, measure and prepare food using a wide variety of equipment, including pots, pans, cutlery, ovens, grills, blenders, slicers and broilers; plan menus; order food supplies; and oversee employees.
The profession is in a challenging industry and takes a high level of commitment and personal sacrifice, said Elias Adame, the executive chef with Thomas Cuisine Management at Ogden Regional Medical Center.
Adame, 35, works long hours to bring some of the finest cuisine to the table for patients and visitors.
He makes sure patients have a menu with food choices they would find in a restaurant setting and that guests in the cafeteria have more than processed food wrapped in plastic.
Adame is the youngest of eight children. Because both of his parents worked and the family was always busy, Adame took it upon himself to have dinner ready when family members arrived home.
"I started very simple, and as that evolved, my cooking range did as well," he said.
"It became quite apparent that I was going to be involved in the food industry at a very young age."
Adame was born in Boston and grew up in Idaho and Texas. After graduating from high school, he attended the Culinary Arts School at Boise State University.
After a year of college, he started working in Boise-area restaurants.
After two years as a chef at a Spanish restaurant, Adame wanted more from the industry than Boise offered, so he moved to Seattle.
Adame landed an interview with a Puerto Rican chef who hired him on the spot as a sous chef. After three months, he was named executive chef.
He helped the owner open two other locations and continued to push the boundaries of food experimentation and creativity.
Adame had climbed the kitchen ladder, but didn't have much time for himself. After moving back to Boise, he worked again as an executive chef before moving to Utah.
"I love what he creates," said Cheri Bursell, Ogden Regional Medical Center community relations coordinator. "You ought to taste his crab cakes."
Bursell said she looks forward to the hospital's gourmet food every day.
Administrative assistant Julie Smith has celiac disease and said she appreciates that Adame creates many tasty gluten-free foods.
"During (a) week of the Olympics, Elias put an international dish from a different country on our menu each day," she said.
"The menu he created for Australia Day was great. I'm not usually a big fan of lamb, but the way the lamb chops were prepared, in a traditional Australian recipe for that dish, was very good."
During the Olympics, Adame also made dishes from the Netherlands, Japan, Canada and Latvia.
"It was very successful, and what a challenge to re-create foods authentically from each country," he said.
Adame encourages anyone who has a desire to be a chef to work hard and pursue the field.
"It's a very challenging industry, and I encourage them to pursue it if they truly have a passion for food and are willing to sacrifice the time and energy it takes to make it a success."