Release Date: Sep 30, 2022

SHELTON, WA – Mason Health has hired Shelton native Ashlee Johnson as its new Head Chef and Director of Culinary & Nutrition Services. Johnson has worked at Mason Health in Culinary & Nutrition Services since January 2020, and she brings to her new position a radiant positivity and a passion for connecting people with tasty, nutritious food.

“I enjoy making a good impact on people’s lives,” Johnson said. “I want to make sure everyone has a great quality of life and I love being able to drive that quality. I feel like we are the heart down here in the kitchen and we get to help people have delicious food. It’s been incredible getting to know our food vendors and the hard work they do.”

Johnson has always been interested in the service industry. A Shelton native for 30 years, she went straight to work after attending schools in the Pioneer and Shelton school districts as an overnight medicine technician at Maple Glen Senior Living. In that role, she worked nightly rounds handing out medicine and making sure everyone was OK. She then worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at several local nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Later, she provided in-home care for a single patient. After that patient passed away, she wanted a break from health care and entered the restaurant industry, eventually working her way up to sous chef for the McMenamins restaurant chain, under the tutelage of Chef Jeremy Glenn.

“At every job I have had, I have learned something,” she said. “The restaurant industry taught me how to be a good worker. Being a CNA is what taught me to be adaptable. It’s always been a passion of mine, to serve others.”

To Johnson, working at Mason Health in her hometown felt like the best of both the restaurant and the health care worlds. In order to be hired, she needed a high school diploma or GED, which she studied for and received in less than 10 days. She started as a part-time cook in January 2020. Former Chef Cody Shipley motivated her to push forward and kept the staff feeling safe and confident during the onset of the COVID pandemic.

“I had dropped out of high school and was thus limited in the types of jobs I could get my whole life,” Johnson said. “I’ve done it all. I never thought I would have the opportunity I have now. I am feeling proud. I look back at the past 10 to 15 years, and I think, ‘Wow, how did I get here?’ I feel very grateful for all the people who have encouraged me.”

Johnson is working on bringing more diverse options to the Mason General Hospital Bistro to-go menus, such as more vegan and gluten-free snacks. She is also working on revamping the pantries in each department, so patients have more nourishing food available to them when the kitchen is closed.

“A mom who is having a baby doesn’t want just a basic sandwich,” she said. “I know from personal experience. I want to get those nourishment rooms updated for the patient. We want to take care of everyone in house.”

When not working, Johnson plays disc golf for local, state and national teams, and enjoys spending time with her 13-year-old daughter, Lynorah, and husband, Chrys.

The Mason General Hospital Bistro plans to re-open to the public in 2023. Look for updated on the Mason Health website and social media channels.

Mason Health, Public Hospital District No. 1 of Mason County, is ISO 9001 Quality Management System certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation. Mason General Hospital and Mason Clinic are ENERGY STAR® certified and Mason Health is the recipient of Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change Environmental Excellence Awards. There are more than 100 physicians on staff in 19 specialties. For more information or to find a health care provider, visit To learn more about DNV, visit


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