Why did you decide to become a CDM?
I got an opportunity to bring my years of restaurant experience to a SNF. The administrator was adamant about making the food better and reducing the complaints. I took that opportunity to get my CDM and educate my cooks that fresh is better and slowly but surely gain the respect of the residents.
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
My main responsibility was to always keep the residents happy. Keeping up with preferences, good properly cooked food, taking care of problems the second they come up. The care plans, MDS’s, CAA’s were always good tools to remind me to go speak to so and so and see how things are going.
How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?
I personally like to come in early and/or stay late before my colleagues get in or after they leave. It’s nice and quiet and I’m able to get everything done with minimal distractions. It also allows me to see each meal and keep standards up.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
Snack time was a big improvement. Instead of expensive prepackaged snacks we strived to make a lot of different finger food items that people enjoyed. It saved on the budget but also gave people homemade things.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
Papa Gino’s pizza on Cape Cod. I was 14 at the time and helped open the store and stayed for 2 years. It was very hard and demanding and I saw a lot of people come and go, but my Father had always taught me to stick with it and see it to the end.
Who has been your biggest mentor in foodservice and how have they helped shape your career?
Chef Acario was one of the very first influences in my life. He was up and at the restaurant before dawn, and there well after closing. He was a stickler for perfection and always told me if I am not happy with something don’t send it out. Everything was from scratch and he worked tirelessly doing it. When he retired, his son took over and didn’t have the same work ethic and the restaurant closed after one season.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
It’s hard to get people who in my opinion are underpaid to take pride in their work. Trying to get them to understand that it could be their relative they are taking care of and they should do the best they can. We are in their house is hard to convey to someone who feels they just took the job because it was available.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Walking around during meals and seeing people’s faces, getting the handshakes, and the overall good comments. Also, getting an opportunity to fix a problem and prove to them that we do care.
How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?
A lot of reading and website visits.
How do you envision the foodservice industry in the next few years and foodservice?
Hopefully moving more towards seasonal and homemade preparations and less towards same old same old.
What is your advice to those just getting started in the foodservice industry?
Don’t get frustrated, start with small changes and work from there. And remember always….You are not cooking for yourself, you are cooking for your customer/resident/patient. Your likes and their likes will not always be the same, accept that you’re making them happy and keep going.