Ashley DeAcetis

Ashley has made an impact on foodservice by conducting biweekly cooking demonstrations that incorporate the rich culinary history of the residents and then featuring the recipes on the weekly menu.

Details

Dining Services Director, (Unidine) Zelma Lacey House, Charlestown, MA
Age: 24
Education: Bachelor’s in hospitality management from The Culinary Institute of America
Years at organization: 2

Why Selected?

According to Unidine Supervisor Laurence Cedrone, Ashley has made an impact on foodservice by:

  • Conducting biweekly cooking demonstrations that incorporate the rich culinary history of the residents and then featuring the recipes on the weekly menu
  • Training her staff to deliver the best possible service to residents, including ensuring that all staff know every resident by name
  • Reorganizing the kitchen for more efficient workflow and to maintain Unidine’s Standards of Storage

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

When Zelma Lacey was chosen over other facilities to have potential investors tour. I showed them the hard work we put into perfecting the standards of service and talked to them about my residents and my passion for what I do.

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

I embrace change. When Unidine is rolling out a new program, implementing a new policy or simply going through a menu cycle change, I like to tackle the change head-on and turn it into something positive before it can become perceived as a challenge or negative.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

The biggest challenge has been learning how to manage my staff effectively. Coming into a director’s position so young, I never had much experience with managing other people. I quickly had to learn how to put my foot down, distribute disciplinary action when necessary and gain the respect needed to be the boss.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

When a resident’s daughter came up to me shortly after her father had passed away to thank me for all that I had done for him while he was alive. This particular resident couldn’t walk and needed trays delivered to his room on a daily basis. So I made it a part of my schedule to go up at least once a week and have a meal with him. He would tell me stories about his life and we would laugh and just enjoy each other’s company. This became not only something that he looked forward to and enjoyed, but something that I looked forward to and enjoyed as well.

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

We do lots of food-related activities. One activity my client decided to try with me was chocolate covered pretzels. I set this all up in the activities room, gave a quick demonstration and left my executive director to assist while I ran back to the kitchen. When I returned not even five minutes later, I was shocked by what I saw—there was more chocolate on the residents than on the pretzels! What started out as a chocolate covered pretzel day, turned more into a chocolate covered resident day!

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