Why did you decide to become a CDM?
Working in an Assisted /Independent/Memory Care Facility, I wanted to learn more how to bring nutrition and health into the life as people age.
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
Balancing running a kitchen with the resident needs and wants.
How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?
I start each day making sure the Culinary staff have what they need to do their job, and move on to the everyday job tasks, while working on the priorities that come up.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
Giving the resident as many choices as possible. Residents vote on and change the Butterfly Bistro breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus and snacks at food council monthly.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
A Mom and Pop Pizza shop when I was 14.
Who has been your biggest mentor in foodservice and how have they helped shape your career?
Kay Biga. I was a waitress at a family restaurant she owned. She inspired me to open and manage three cafes and a restaurant/bar.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
Staffing. When you find good people and get them trained and they want to move, it's hard to lose them. I would never hold anyone back from following their dream. I have several past employees who still keep in contact with me, that I am very grateful for.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I like a challenge and every day is a different day.
How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?
I love to learn! I am continually reading and attending any educational seminars I can.
How do you envision the foodservice industry changing in the next few years?
The days of a tray trayline, or set meal times will be a thing of the past. Residents will order when they are hungry.
What is your advice to those just getting started in the foodservice industry?
Have patience and be flexible. Learning a complete job can take 6 months or more.