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Angela Hess

Executive Chef | Rusty Rail Brewing

Briefly describe your job and responsibilities.

I manage a staff of 25 and am in charge of overall operations and production in the kitchen. I’m also in charge of the purchasing for the restaurant and events space. I create weekly features, specialty items, and the à la carte menus. As well as taking inventory, maintaining food cost, and planning events relating to food.

What does a “typical” day at work look like for you?

I don’t think there are really any typical days in any hospitality setting and Rusty Rail is no exception. I usually have meetings once or twice a week with the other departments and managers. I normally get to work, check in with the staff and if anyone needs anything I jump in and help with whatever is needed. Other than that, I’m catching up with paperwork, creating recipes, or working on new projects.

What was your first job in the hospitality industry?

I was a prep cook/line cook at The Temperance House.

When did you know this industry was right for you?

When I was very young, maybe 7. I can’t remember having the realization of wanting to do it for the rest of my life, but I cooked all the time and watched the Food Network nonstop. So naturally I just kept doing more. Then came a job, then Vo-Tech, then culinary school.

Briefly describe your career path and how you got to where you are today.

I’ve held just about every position there is to hold in a restaurant. From bartender to server, pastry chef to sauté cook. I’ve managed several kitchens, taking away bits and pieces of knowledge from each one and adapting it as my own.

A few highlights from places that I have worked, that if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today are: The Temperance House, where I cut my teeth and really fell in love with the industry. Vic’s Pub and The Victoria House, taught me more about flavors, fine dining, buffet setups, how to run a line, how to plan and execute events, high volume, and how to keep people coming back with quality and consistency. The Williamsport Country Club where I started as a line cook/ pastry chef and was the Executive Chef before my 2-year anniversary, taught me purchasing and cost control, fine dining, event planning. Wegmans Team Leader, honed my skills as a manager and showed me the kind and caring approach to creating and maintaining a team and how to hold people accountable for their actions and performance.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Everything. I truly love it all.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Having to apply different management styles to different people based on their personalities.

What advice would you give to students interested in your profession?

Work hard, harder than anyone else. It won’t go unnoticed. And don’t think you know everything, no one does. Continue to learn, always.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Other than my son, I’m proud of my accomplishments at the Rusty Rail. I also made it in the top 1,000 out of 100,000 chefs in the Favorite Chef competition, so that was kind of cool.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with my family, baking, being outside, shopping, fishing, hunting, and going to concerts.

What is your favorite food to make or eat?

Pizza or Cheesesteak Stromboli.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

To travel in and out of the US with my family and explore all things culinary related as we do it!