Every month we’ll be spotlighting a different Woodlands employee to connect you with our team and learn more about what they do day in and day out to keep their departments running smoothly. We appreciate our hard-working employees, and want you to get to know them!


Since joining Woodlands Market earlier this year as the Kitchen Manager at our new Folsom Street store in San Francisco, Ronald Gacayan has been making many friends with his delicious prepared foods and weekly specials.

How long have you been employed here?

I’ve been working for Woodlands for around 7 months.

Can you describe your job for us?

I manage the kitchen in the San Francisco store, which means I cook the prepared foods and manage eight kitchen staff. We cook about 12 different breakfast items and 10 different lunch/dinner items per day—everything from beef, chicken, and pork dishes to seafood and veggie dishes.

I’ll also concoct one to three new specials each week that I’ll add to the mix so we keep things interesting. Depending on how well a special sells, we may bring them back from time to time. This week I introduced a sweet chili shrimp with veggies that has been so popular that it sold out every day.

My passion is cooking, and when I’m preparing a new dish for the store, I create the recipe as I go along. I love to experiment with the food and taste it as I cook. That’s the most important part to getting it great. If customers like a special and it does well, I’ll remember the recipe for next time and make it again.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Woodlands?

Since we opened this summer, the appreciation we’ve gotten from the customers for the food has been fantastic. The 11 AM to 1 PM lunch rush is our busiest time, and I’ve developed personal relationships with a lot of neighborhood regulars who come in every day. They ask for me by name, and give positive feedback that I’ll incorporate into the food. Our customers really appreciate what we do—a few love the food so much that they’ve asked me to cater their parties!

I also appreciate how well Woodlands treats its employees. Don [Santa, Woodlands founder and owner] was in the other day to say hi and let us know how much he appreciates what we do.