Proudest career accomplishment in the past year:
Last summer, for the first time, we entered the annual Burger Battle with 18 other area restaurants. We finished third out of 18, and we beat out very popular restaurants that specialize in burgers. We were named one of the top five must-try burgers in metro Detroit. It was a great feeling having over 1,500 people in attendance and hearing that one of the must-try burgers is from a retirement home.
Most rewarding moment so far:
Bringing our health and rehab food and nutritional department together and putting procedures in place that made us citation-free for the 2018 state survey. This was the first time in 20 years that we were citation-free.
Biggest challenge you’ve overcome:
Age. I have always been the youngest in any of the positions I’ve been in. At 16, I was head server, overseeing and training servers who were at least four and five years older than me. At 23, I was restaurant manager, managing staff older than me and who had been in the industry longer. I did not let that discourage me; I kept moving forward.
One thing you’d change about the industry:
The stereotype that retirement homes serve boring food. People believe there’s one choice and that’s it. Every day, my team pushes the limits and creates dishes using fresh, new ingredients. We have a garden that we use for greens, tomatoes and herbs. Seafood and meats are delivered daily, and our dishes are similar to five-star restaurants. Our menu features a garden-fresh salad bar with more than 20 different toppings and 20 different oils and vinegars. We also offer more than 25 entrees cooked to order and 15 dessert choices, as well as beer and wine.