What CDM Means to Me


Amarilys Saluk, CDM, CFPP

Waterford, CT

"For more than 25 years, I have dedicated myself to long-term care. I am one of those fortunate people who has been able to make my passion my career. To say obtaining my CDM was the best decision I ever made is an understatement.  It has assisted me in ensuring my residents receive the best possible nutrition available in my LTC facility. Through that, I have been able to touch the lives of not only my residents but also family and staff. We all know if residents are pleased with their meal selections; it can have a positive impact on their day, interactions, and has therapeutic benefits on medical status.


Leslie A. Hamilton CDM CFPP

Wichita, KS

“Becoming a CDM has been a rewarding achievement for me. I started working in foodservice healthcare business as a dietary aide not knowing that I would become a CDM someday. My mother was a Chef, working at Crestview Country Club. I recall at a young age her asking me to assist her in the kitchen at home and help her cook. Cooking has been a great experience for me from learning several different recipes and creating many dishes. I greatly enjoy working with our clients and providing them with good nutritional meals. I enjoy seeing their smiles as they tell us thank you for the meal."


Christopher W. Company, CDM, CFPP

Warren/Detroit, MI

“Becoming a CDM was a mission for me for a long time. Once I became one it opened doors and opportunities that exceeded expectations. To me, a CDM stands for commitment to your profession, demonstrating what you learn to others so everyone benefits and mandating yourself to higher 

standards that this industry has to offer. Very proud the day I passed the test. Always look to the future to strive for excellence!”


Nathan Gaudreau, CDM, CFPP

Englewood, FL

“It means you have taken on the responsibility to provide your customers/residents/patients the very best you can provide. It means you talk to your residents, good or bad and solve problems in a respectful and polite manner. It means you install those same beliefs in the people who work for you. It means you take pride in the food, in your kitchen, and in your crew.”


Michael Bunn, MS, CDM, CFPP

Bentonville, AR

“Becoming a CDM, CFPP was a personal goal that I specifically set out to obtain. While working for a contract feeding company I noticed that all the managers were certified and I wanted to be a manager. I also noticed that all the chefs were CDM’s at this particular company. I wanted to push myself to be the best chef and manager that I could be. So, getting certified was something I knew I had to do. Even though I currently do not work in a hospital or nursing facility I keep my certification current with the plan to one day return back to the industry. I always saw the certification as a way to work in other areas of food beyond the traditional chef jobs. My certification is still useful in my current role as a food scientist working in a corporate retail grocery environment.”


Jose C. Canales, BS, CDM, CFPP

Hyattsville, MD

“My CDM credential has transformed my career into a new level. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made throughout my career. After many years of working in restaurants and hotels and now working in healthcare industry, it has given me opportunities to improve the lives the residents and staff, through nutrition, safe food, and leadership. Having the CDM under my belt alone with my culinary experience not only gives me confidence in what I am doing but also makes me stronger because my knowledge has spanned. I oversee five facilities; my goal is now is to help every food service manager to become CDM in the near future.”


Richard Hoelzel, FMP, CDM, CFPP

Janesville, WI

“Becoming a CDM was a goal I had set for myself when I began working with seniors. It was pivotal to my personal development and growth. When I became a CDM, it was not only rewarding on a personal level, but I was able to bring better understanding to the chefs that I work with. The ability to create not only GREAT food, but to understand the impact that meal makes to the diner, that’s what being a CDM has given me. I’m a CDM and I enrich the lives of seniors every day.”


Ginger Cater, MEd, CDM, CFPP

Lyman, SC

“Being a CDM makes a difference in my life. It means that I have a career, not just a job. It means that I am recognized as being an expert in my field and being recognized for my achievements and compensated for my knowledge and skills. It gives me a seat at the discussion table with the other managers and professionals in my workplace. It means that I have a shared commitment to my field, as a part of a professional organization that encourages and provides lifelong learning, networking with my peers, and exploring best practices. It provides an outlet for my passion for the elderly and I know that I am making a difference in their lives as much as they are making a difference in mine.”

Felicia Smith

Felicia Smith, CDM, CFPP, MHA

Douglas, WY

“Becoming a CDM CFPP completely changed the trajectory of my life. I have had more doors open for me due to the knowledge, confidence and continuing training that I receive as a CDM. I have had the privilege to not only learn from other CDMs, but also volunteer for my local and national  organization. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next.”

Shirley Carroll

Shirley Carroll, CDM, CFPP

Duluth, MN

“Having my CDM,CFPP means I am doing the best job I can within an organization that has so much to offer a professional. I have a multitude of help that is there when needed. I also have many colleagues that have excellent ideas and knowledge. I am proud to be a member of this organization.”

What CDM Means to Me LauraMalcak

Laura Malcak, CDM, CFPP

Clinton, WI

“By obtaining my CDM,CFPP I was able to put my culinary background into doing good work for people who truly deserve it. I also was able to share my knowledge with the upcoming generations in foodservice to help make sure that we can bring great food and caring people into our facilities.”

What CDM Means to Me DebGohl

Debra Gohl, CDM, CFPP

St. Francis, KS

“I started working in the nursing home as a CNA and then did a few stints in the business office and HIM, and just always felt like I was missing something. I wanted to do more. When the Dietary Manager position came open, I thought I might be a great fit. I got the job, took the credentialing class and exam, and have never looked back. My CDM has opened many doors and given me opportunities to improve the lives of myself, the residents, and staff, through nutrition, safe food, and leadership.  As a member of ANFP, I have attended  fun and informative meetings in the state of Kansas, and would someday love to attend a national convention. I love my job!”


Jeannie Chestnut, CDM, CFPP

Moundridge, KS

“My mom passed away in 2007. She was a CDM for at least 20 years, maybe longer.  She was my first “boss” in long-term care.  I learned so much from her.  I became a CDM, CFPP at the end of 2012 after working in long-term care kitchens for over 20 years. She was gone by then, but it makes me proud to follow in her footsteps and I’m sure she is smiling down with pride.” 


Kathy Ballard, CDM, CFPP

Indianapolis, IN

“What it means to me to be a CDM is how important it is to have the information to help others with their diet needs. From diabetes to obesity, everyone needs to know how to control their nutrient needs to live a healthier life and I am a big part of that. It gives me great appreciation of the body and how it reacts to different situations with foods and I am proud to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Melanie Hudson

Melanie Hudson, CDM, CFPP

Fort Wayne, IN

“I have been a CDM twice. The first time I took the exam it was 2005. Then I took it again in 2014. I have worked in LTC the whole time. I started out as a cook in a 60-bed facility, never dreaming that I would fall in love with the elderly. I was a cook, aid, and dishwasher before becoming a CDM. I let my certification lapse when my last child was born to stay home with her. That time home with my child proved to me what my CDM means to me. It gives me a purpose in life to help others by providing great food, great customer service, not only to residents but to family members, and to enjoy the elderly. The elderly are funny and have many stories to tell. Being a CDM makes me a proud and successful woman. It has given me a lot of confidence in my life.”


Donna Krajicek, CDM, CFPP

Denison, IA

“When I was asked by my manager if I had an interest in becoming a Certified Dietary Manager and that she would be retiring in the near future and thought I had what it takes to be a leader, I couldn’t believe what a perfect opportunity it would be. I knew that this was what I had been waiting for. Going back to school to get my CDM, CFPP was the best thing I did for myself. I am now able to help lead and educate and be proud of my career. That’s what being a CDM, CFPP is, a career, not just a job. I have watched and learned throughout the past 21 years, helping to make our establishment safe and nutritional. I am currently the Dietary Coordinator and I love being able to be part of the management team.”

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