Loretta Gallagher is the President and owner of Gallagher Associates, LLC an IT firm located in Wayne, New Jersey that works primarily with healthcare organizations all over the United States implementing electronic medical records. Loretta started her IT firm just over 25 years ago when the wave of technology was just picking up both professionally and personally. Most people were just getting computers in their homes 25-30 years ago, and internet was still dial up, and AOL was widely used for personal email and internet browsing.  How quickly times have changed.  Gallagher Associates, LLC has transformed as the industry has transformed in the past few decades. Loretta and her team of associates work closely with hospital systems to ensure these large scale projects stay on time and stay within budget. Working with health care organizations that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year can be stressful. Therefore finding time or she says “making time” to decompress and do something enjoyable is important. Keeping the balance between home, family, friends, and work is key to continued sustainable long-term success.  Loretta Gallagher has been married almost 30 years, raised three daughters while running her business; making time to disconnect from work and decompress doing something she loves helps her keep this balance.

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY?

Loretta finds cooking with and for family and friends an enjoyable and rewarding hobby. She also loves some down time disconnecting at the beach.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH THIS HOBBY? WHAT INSPIRED YOU?

Not really sure how I got started with cooking.  My mom always cooked, but I do not think she would say it was a hobby or relaxing to her.  My grandmother when I was very young would often gather the family on summer weekends for barbeques and good meals.  Again I do not recall cooking with my grandmother, but always remember what fun it was to have everyone together and looked forward to those weekend meals with them.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?

Loretta loves the togetherness of working in the kitchen with her family and friends, learning other people’s favorites, and making new traditions. Her family has created a few new holiday weekend traditions to share with family and friends. She has an annual Mardi Gras party in New England where she hosts 30-40 friends. They fly in crawfish from Louisiana, make the largest pot of Jambalaya; using a recipe from a dear friend who taught Loretta his family recipe. Loretta Gallagher explains another traditional event is the annual Friendsgiving. She explains as we all see our families during the holidays, making time for friends is essential too. Friendsgiving is a fall event to gather with friends for great food, good wine, and lots of laughs.

Loretta Gallagher explains how she has always loved being in the kitchen, but when her daughters came along it was something they loved doing with her. From the youngest of ages; her girls would pull a step stool over to the kitchen counter regularly. By the time they were three or four years old all three would help with preparation. Loretta explains it was fun quality time we would spend together. It is time they look forward to as much as I do. Even with my three daughters all grown up we still take a fall weekend to make a dozen or so holiday pies and always enjoy a weekend of Christmas cookie baking.

ARE THERE ANY GROUPS YOU’RE A PART OF OR EVENTS THAT YOU ATTEND RELATED TO YOUR HOBBY?

Often on vacation we will find a chef offering a cooking class and will take it.  The Vermont Culinary Institute was a fun winter weekend away where we took a great cooking class.  Another fun one was in Savannah Georgia at a Marriott property we stayed at; The Mansion.  They had a fun interactive cooking class.

HAVE YOU INVESTED IN ANY GEAR OR EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR HOBBY? IF SO, WHAT?

Loretta laughs when asked have you had to invest in equipment? She explains she has just about every kitchen gadget one can think of. She does have some favorites, her pampered chef’s apple corer is a must for pie making, a good lemon press and you never have enough wooden spoons.

WHERE DO YOU BUY MOST OF YOUR SUPPLIES?

Loretta has found some great buys are the William Sonoma outlet and loves her pampered chef items also.

ARE THERE ANY GOOD BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS?

Yes, there are tons – but I do not follow recipes often.  I like to read a few and then put my own spin on them.  Creating my own flavors, presentations and creations are part of the fun for me.

HOW HAS THIS CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

My hobby has kept both family and friend near and dear.  The quality time we have all spent together either preparing a meal, or if they are not cooks and just enjoy a meal I have prepared are priceless.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS STARTING OUT WITH THIS HOBBY?

For anyone afraid to try things out in the kitchen, Loretta Gallagher suggests you dive in, learn to laugh, and have fun, she says. Cooking should not be stressful and the more hands the better. Whoever said “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth” was doing it wrong.  Find people you love and enjoy spending time with and make new traditions with them.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER HOBBIES YOU HAVE?

Anything that involves sand and salt water.  Whether it is a walk on the beach or boardwalk, watching the tide roll in, sitting with friends in the sand a catching up or making sand castles with the little kids.  The ocean is my happy place.

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