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A Zesty Addition to Tampa’s Kitchen

A Zesty Addition to Tampa’s Kitchen

How one chef’s passion for cooking, led her to an inspired career in senior living.

 

Evelyn Vega de Garcia is proud to be the Dining Service Director at Inspired Living at Tampa community. We’re delighted to have Evelyn as part of our management team and want to share her achievements, her passions, and how she is quickly growing to be one of the best Dining Service Directors across Inspired Living.

How She Discovered Her Passion

Evelyn has always felt passionate about cooking, and she got her start working in show-business, where she saw the effects great cuisine can have on those who enjoy it. She finally got her chance to study International Cuisine when she went to live in Peru, a country that’s known for some of the best gastronomy in the world. The more she learned about food, the more inspired she became about her culinary career.

After seeing an ad for a cooking job here at Inspired Living Tampa, Evelyn quickly discovered what a great fit it would be for her, her culinary talents, and her passion for cooking. “This job offers a mix of short-term projects and long-term goals at a company that’s on the rise. It allows me to put my skills to use for people I love. It’s the kind of working environment I look forward to coming into every day.”

What She Loves About Her Job

For Evelyn, her everyday job is like being at home. She says she has a great team—not just a group of people who work together, but a group who also trusts, supports, and cares about each other. “It’s a family! I am more than grateful for them and all the effort and hard work they put in to get better every day. We’re still a work-in-progress, but together, we will succeed.”

She continues to say that every day is a rewarding experience, and every day creates inspired new memories with residents and their families, with her team, and with her colleagues. She gets great satisfaction from being part of our residents’ lives, to share her life with them, to learn with them, and help take care of them. “That’s my reward at the end of the day. Every day here is special.”

Some of her favorite memories here so far include seeing the joy she can bring to residents by doing something as simple as making them a birthday cake. She also found great success in creating a fun breakfast buffet with live action stations where residents and their families could help cook with them. “Hearing their best cooking secrets was priceless!”

We asked Evelyn to talk to us about a person who inspires her here at Inspired Living. She lit up, and immediately started talking about Charlie White, our Regional VP of Operations. “When I was hired, he was our Executive Director. Every day, he took the time to say hello and show genuine care for all his employees, always with a smile and an open door. He’s a true leader who ignites a spark in you and shows you how to do more and become more. From him, I learned to lead by example, always keeping my courage, compassion, connection, and conviction. I couldn’t be more grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to grow in this company. Thank you, Charlie!”

Evelyn’s Background & Inspirations

Growing up in Costa Rica, Evelyn says her Dad is the person who inspired her most to become the person she is today. “I know he will keep inspiring me every day to become an even better version of myself,” she said about her Dad. “Watching him do what he loves, and watching him make a difference in the lives of others—I’ve never been more proud to call him my role model and call him Dad.”

Evelyn has a degree in Business Administration from her home country of Costa Rica. She started her career as a Production manager for a show business company, helping produce concerts, tours, and shows for artists like Aerosmith, Paul McCartney, AC/DC, Shakira, and many well-known Spanish artists like Juan Luis Guerra, Camilo Sesto, Franco de Vita, Julio Iglesias, and others. She worked in show business for almost 10 years, and her job took her to live in amazing places like Panama and Peru, where she would eventually start her culinary career.

She is passionate about food. She loves everything about it—the smell and fragrance, the amazing colors, and the rich tastes that can be overwhelming. “My love for food is not only about eating. I try to innovate, and cooking gives me the opportunity to give other people that ‘Oh my God, this is the best thing I’ve ever tasted!’ moment.” She also says one of the most gratifying things she knows is seeing someone love her food.

About Her Hobbies & Interests

When we asked Evelyn about where she’d like to travel, if she could go anywhere in the world, her answer was simple: anywhere, especially Europe. “Travel opens your mind and gives you lots of experiences. Europe has always felt magical to me—I love that the countries are so close together, there’s different cuisine everywhere, people speaking all kinds of different languages, and the cultures, landscapes, lifestyles, and histories are all right there together.”

As for her favorite hobbies, Evelyn said she loves to run. She started running over 7 years ago, and it teaches her that she’s always capable of more than she could have imagined. “I learned that, even when life can pull you down, running always lifts you up!”

Evelyn loves to spend her free time with good friends and family, having a good time with people she cares about. She’s also very spiritual, using her spirituality as a way to help herself unwind, reflect, and think about life’s purpose. To her, it’s all about trying to become a better person.

So, What’s It All About, Evelyn?

“I love to share my passion with my residents! I cook for them, make them feel comfortable and cared for, and show them that I will always give them everything I have in every plate. A real culinary experience always has the most important ingredient: love.”

Gallery of Evelyn’s Craft: