The Memorial Hospital gets new executive chef |

The Memorial Hospital gets new executive chef

Darian Warden
Layle Dees, The Memorial Hospital in Craig's new executive chef, cuts Rice Krispie treats, a staff favorite, Thursday in the kitchen.
Darian Warden

Layle Dees knows how and what to feed people.

In her previous role as general manager of dining services for Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, Dees had to have plenty of food for the college kids she served, and the right kind too.

“College kids need comfort food,” Dees said. “Especially freshman. If you can make college kids happy you can definitely make adults happy.”

In her new role as the executive chef for The Memorial Hospital in Craig, the Texas native brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with a little bit of southern charm.

“I’m really glad I’m here,” Dees said. “I missed being a chef. This is a better deal for me.”

TMH Chief of Organizational Excellence Jennifer Riley said Dees will lead the dietary department in taking care of the hospital’s primary customers, patients, as well as the staff.

Dees will be responsible for overseeing the entire kitchen operation, including catering events and designing menus.

When speaking on the hospital’s choice, Riley said Dees was the most outstanding candidate with experience that made her instrumental to the team.

“The team is great,” Dees said. “Everyone does a great job and is eager to learn. I’m really excited to get started and add to that. This is only my third day here but it feels like a family already.”

Making Dees point, chief financial officer Bryan Chalmers walked by calling Dees “Chef Mom.”

Dees said she hopes to streamline some processes and try to do some more specialized dishes for long-term patients.

“I want them to feel like they’re not just a patient stuck here waiting to go home,” Dees said.

Thursday’s lunch had featured honey mustard pork loin. An employee pushed an empty cart past with no scraps left over, exclaiming how wonderful the loin was.

Dees thanked her and laughed, saying the staff was so easy to please.

“I made Rice Krispie treats and they were gone immediately,” Dees said. “I couldn’t believe they were so excited about Rice Krispie treats.”

Dees said she has some of the best food in town up at the Mountain Café at the hospital, as well as the best deal.

“I’d encourage people to come up and try the food at the Mountain Café,” Riley said.

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or

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