Posts Tagged Educational

Motivation – Why Did I Get Up This Morning?

“Why Did I Get Up This Morning”
Recognizing and Understanding the Power of Motivation
Robin L. Eubanks, Ph.D.

Presentation Summary by: Allie D’Avanzo, UMDNJ Dietetic Intern Class of 2013

Dr. Robin Eubanks delivered an uplifting and powerful speech as the keynote speaker of the conference. Stressing the need for us to go “beyond our plates” in all that we do in the workfield and in our everyday lives.

This means doing something different than what we have done before, reaching out to others and sometimes even stepping out of our comfort zones. Robin also spoke to the group about motivation, and how it plays a role in going beyond our plates.

 

Self Motivation Combines 5 Ideas:

  • Practicing
  • Determination
  • Positive Attitude and Self Esteem
  • Ability to Bounce Back
  • Surround Self with People Who Motivate You

Motivated people have a sense of hope and are not afraid to dream.  These keys can be applied to any person, in any field of work and of any age.  Once a person is motivated, they must find a way to stay motivated and maintain that ambition. Motivation, to Robin Eubanks, means taking a risk. It means learning from mistakes, rejecting undeserved criticism and realizing that there is always room for improvement.

As she spoke, the heads of the listeners in the conference room nodded, as her words were sincere and were relatable to every person there.  She said that in order to move forward, maintain motivation and go “beyond our plates”, one had to not hold on to guilt, sadness, disappointments or anger. This does not mean that we cannot feel these emotions, but that we let them go, free ourselves and keep going forward.

She went on to explain that how each person views success is going to be different- and that as long as we keep a positive mindset and remind ourselves why we got up in the morning we are able to keep moving.  Her closing statement was “I am who I choose to be”

Quotes from Dr. Eubanks on how to be self motivated:

“Dare to believe that you are a wonderful unique person”

“Don’t let circumstances crush your dreams”

“Lean on your dreams when circumstances get rough”

“Don’t beat yourself up by mistakes, move forward”

“Dreams are goals with deadlines”

“A Setback is a set up for a comeback”

Win/Win – Positioning You and Your People for Success

Win/Win
Positioning You and Your People for Success
Mary Brunner is an Educational Specialist for the Valley Hospital, Ridgewood, NJ

Presentation Summary by: Natalie Honan, UMDNJ Dietetic Intern Class of 2013

Ms. Brunner outlined the “Five Elements of Win/Win-Positioning for Success”

  • Desired Results
  • Guidelines
  • Resources
  • Accountability
  • Consequences

She further described how each of these elements can be utilized in Food Service daily operations:  She encouraged administrators and supervisors to think about the following:

Desired Results:  What do you want to happen?

Guidelines:  What are the standards, rules and directions?

Resources:  “Who” and “Where” employees can go for help?

Accountability: How will the employee performance be measured?

Consequences:  What will be the next step if the performance needs improvement?

Ms. Brunner motivated and encouraged the audience to take hold of their operations and set goals for themselves and others. She urged supervisors to look at the “bigger picture”, and encourage their employees to do the same. All employees of a foodservice operation have the potential to contribute to the organization’s mission, vision, and values.

“Coaching” was recommended as a way to motivate employees to the “Win/Win” Elements.  When we coach a person we “support a person through the process of achieving a specific personal or professional result”.   Be aware of how employees respond to feedback.

She encouraged a “proactive” approach to making employees accountable. If employees are aware of the expectation/desired result, they are less likely to respond with a “victim reaction” if the performance is less than desired.

Setting clear expectations encourages people to be successful. In order to help employees become successful, supervisors must define the desired results, set guidelines and provide employees resources to use to enhance performance.

“Win/Win” relies on the theme of awareness of both self and others in order to achieve success. Ms. Brunner empowered the audience to believe in “self” and in “your staff” and they in return will believe in you.  Both parties win, both parties will go forth with higher expectations and goals and will ultimately refuse to settle for less than their best performance in all that they do on a daily basis.

 

Top Trends in Healthcare Food Service

Top Trends in Healthcare Food Service –
Essential Information to Keep Your Operation Current
Lynne Eddy, MS, RD, FADA, LDN, CHE

Presentation Summary by: Carolyn Cheng, UMDNJ Dietetic Intern Class of 2013

Whether you are in a medical center, hospital, LTC, Rehab, CCRC (assisted care/independent care living or SNF), or memory care, volume production is essential to the care of patients, residents, and customers alike.

After the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed on March 23, 2010 by President Obama, an additional 30 million more people have had access to healthcare. It is growing exponentially with each year, which means food service operations must also grow at the same rate.

What are the trends in healthcare food service today? You may be able to guess some of them. In no specific order, these are the top ten Lynne Eddy, Assistant Professor of the Business Marketing Department of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Hyde Park, compiled together and shared with us at the GNJSHFSA Educational Seminar:

  1. Patient Centered Care – We are moving towards service that provides specifically to the needs of the patient. Become a designated Planetree member to ensure patient satisfaction and performing well on the HCAHPS.
  2. Hotel Style Room Service – Facilities have 18-24 hour room service nowadays. Resident satisfaction is high and consistent in CCRC due to individualized service. The pod concept-dual station replaces old-fashioned assembly lines. Separate teams of staff are designated to work at the pod or delivering trays on the floor.
  3. Cooked to Order – Also known as, A La Minute. Hello, flashed foods. Goodbye, Saran wraps. New production equipments, for example, the microwave convection oven, make preparation of room service orders instantaneous.
  4. Sustainability – Get rid of that container of dried parsley! If the population that you serve cares about where there food comes from, it is important to get them involved. This is predominantly seen in independent care living with activities like gardening.
  5. Electronic Medical Records and POS BOH Tickets – Beginning this year, the integrated computer system has become more prevalent. Everything will soon be real time and accuracy will be more crucial than ever.
  6. Retail Dining for Staff – Wellness for employee staff related to cafeteria food should be just as promising as wellness care for the patients. What kind of options do you have in the Grab and Go section? Do you offer fried foods daily?
  7. Upscale “5 Star” Catering – There is a need to change the eating habits of the medical professionals. Why not cater “Certified Healthy” foods?
  8. Restaurant-Style Menus – Menus display a variety of entrees to choose from. Static teaching tools are being used to identify or categorize food items. Wellness choices are included on the menu. And all printed on elegant card stock.
  9. Bottom Line – Maintain and maximize positive patient perception, increase rate of discharges, decrease readmissions, embrace staff wellness, and last but not least, put hospitality back into hospitals.
  10. Classically Trained Chefs – Who does not love “Top Chef”? Yes! Cooking competitions take place in the healthcare arena. Last but not least, chefs step outside the kitchen? Yes! Chefs are interacting with residents to ensure quality of food and service.

Pick a few of the top ten trends and make them the focus for your operations in 2013

“Spices, Herbs & Aromatics: Inspiring Chefs to Explore a World of Healthy Flavors

Spices, Herbs & Aromatic:
Inspiring Chefs to Explore a World of Healthy Flavors
Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RD and Chef Suvir Saran

Presentation Summary by: Allison Napolitano, UMDNJ Dietetic Intern Class of 2013

Chef Suvir Saran  and  Registered Dietitian, Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RD enticed the audience with their dynamic presentation on the health benefits and cooking methods of incorporating spices, herbs, and aromatics as a way to achieve recipes that are rich in flavor and also healthy! Chef Suvir Saran is the Chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), NY, NY, an accomplished chef, cookbook author and NYC restaurateur. Amy Myrdal Miller is the Director of Programs and Culinary Nutrition at the CIA, St. Helens, CA.

Spices: Spices are defined as pungent or aromatic seasonings that are found within the various parts of  plants and trees. These are harvested from the fruits, bark, roots, seeds or stems.  Examples: Cinnamon Sticks, Nutmeg, Peppercorns, Fennel Seeds, Red Pepper Flakes and Mace

Source: Sharon Tyler Herbst: The New Food Lover’s Companion

Six Ways Spices Can Enhance Flavor:

  1. Whole
  2. Ground
  3. Whole and Dry Toasted
  4. Ground and Dry Toasted
  5. Whole and Stir-Fried in Oil
  6. Ground and Stir-Fried in Oil

Chef Saran recommends: www.penzeys.com  and www.kalustyans.com for additional information.

Herbs: Herbs are the fragrant leaves of various perennial and annual plants that grow in temperate climates. These plants do not have woody stems. Examples: Oregano, Parsley, Bay Leaves,Tarragon, Sage and Rosemary

Aromatics: Any parts of plants, herbs and spices that provide a “lively” flavor and fragrance to drinks and foods.  Examples: Citrus Peel, Citrus Zest, Shallots, Fennel, Garlic and Onions.

A study in 2006 of US consumption of spices, herbs and food with antioxidant properties revealed the following:  Top 5 Spices, Herbs based on antioxidant content are: Cloves, Oregano and Ginger, Cinnamon and Turmeric.

Top 5 Foods based on portion size: Blackberries, Walnuts, Strawberries, Artichokes and Cranberries.

Tips for Buying, Storing and Preparing Spices:

Miller and Saran provided the audience with tips about buying, storing, and preparing spices, herbs, and aromatics for large volume service.

Buy In Bulk and Store On Site: Buying whole spices in bulk and grinding them in the kitchen is more cost effective and will create superior flavors compared to simply purchasing pre-ground spices.

Preparation: In addition to grinding whole spices to excite the palate, it was explained that stir-frying herbs in oil before using them in dishes further enhances the flavor of the herbs. The use of spices as a substitute to salt was also discussed. As an example, Lime Juice was recommended to extend  the flavor in a recipe typically incorporating salt.

The presentation concluded with a cooking demonstration by Chef Saran.  His recipe, “Better than Ketchup” use Tomato Chutney combined with a Spicy Indian Slaw which utilized a combination of freshly ground spices and stir-fried herbs.  The aroma in the room was delightful and the audience enjoyed a delicious food sample of the recipe.

Menu of Change: Promoting Healthy Local & Sustainable Food in Healthcare

Menu of Change:
Promoting Healthy Local and Sustainable Food in Healthcare
Michelle Gottlieb BA, MA & Diane Emery MBA, RD

Presentation Summary by: Erin Gager, UMDNJ Dietetic Intern 2013

Michelle Gottlieb BA, MA and Diane Emery MBA, RD provided an in depth review of how healthcare facilities can be proponents of their own cause as well as for the environment. Michelle Gottlieb began the presentation by speaking on behalf of the Health Food in Health Care Program and the National Institute of Healthcare Without Harm created to leverage the massive purchasing power that healthcare facilities hold.

She took a different perspective to defining healthy food, “health food comes from a food system that is ecologically viable and socially responsible.” By taking this approach, Healthcare Without Harm seeks to provide nutritious food to patients in an environmentally viable way.

She points out that there are economic drivers of food choices, for example fruits and vegetables and more expensive than poultry, sugar and dairy which are driven by groups such as the dairy council. There is also unproportional advertising toward unhealthy foods, access to healthy food is challenged by several barriers such as lack of transportation vehicles to bring individuals to fresh food sources and farms have become factories where unsanitary and unnatural procedures are tainting the food supply.

There are concerns at each stage of the food system including production (pesticides, hormones, antibiotics), processing (bacteria), packaging/transportation (PCP’s in metal, PBDE) and consumption (cross contamination). These factors combined contribute to the chemical environment that we live in.

The consequences of these contaminations may have effects in our offspring in an unfavorable way. For more information about Healthcare Without Harm, visit healthyfoodinhealthcare.org.
The second speaker Diane Emery MBA, RD provided a model for how healthcare systems can achieve feeding their patients with fresh nutritious foods in an environmentally friendly way.

Ms. Emery works at Fletcher Alan Health Care in Vermont where various programs are in place such as farm visits for employees, a rooftop garden where produce grown is incorporated into the menu, and only offering fish caught in North America and primarily the northeast. The hospital also promotes whole grains, mini desserts rather than large portion sizes, locally grown food, and weekly farmers markets.

Emery predicts that the next trends are the use of real butter, organic liquid milk, continuing with the farmers market, changing packaging, and growing produce in the greenhouse.

These speakers not only summarized the flaws in our current healthcare system, but offered solutions and a model to follow. With the efforts of several other healthcare facilities, we can make a difference in the lives of our patients and in the environment.

Valley Hospital debuts Meatless Monday options By Laura Herzog

 Garlic Naan Bread with Vegetable Curry and Basmati Rice.

Quinoa-stuffed Eggplant with Tomato and Feta.

Black Bean Quesadillas.

Dawn Cascio, director of Food Services, left, and Executive Chef John Graziano show off a meatless Monday meal.

With menu listings that can even make a carnivore salivate, The Valley Hospital is promoting a healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle change for its patients, visitors and staff. After launching its campaign last week, Valley has pledged to go “meatless” each Monday, offering fiber-rich vegetarian meals in all four of its on- and off-site cafés.

In doing so, it became the first hospital in New Jersey to join an ongoing international campaign that aims to help people reduce their meat consumption by around 15 percent.

“I had heard about other institutions doing the Meatless Mondays,” said Valley’s Director of Food Services Dawn Cascio, who suggested the campaign to her boss, the vice president of facilities. “There’s hundreds of them.”
Several other institutions are taking part in the initiative — from Baltimore’s entire school system and Johns Hopkins Hospital to New York University and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, she said.

By joining the grassroots effort, participants can improve their personal health and raise awareness of the environmental and public health impact of industrial meat production linked to heavy land and water use and pollution, Cascio said. Studies show that plant-based diets rich in fiber-rich whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables are better for people, she said.

Too much meat, according to experts, has been linked to type 2 diabetes and higher mortality rates. Also, a significant cause of water pollution is runoff from nearby farms that contains animal waste, antibiotics and hormones.
Still, Valley’s new initiative is not forcing people to eat meatless on Mondays; going meatless at Valley is optional. Regular fare is still offered to those who want to eat meat or fish on Mondays, said Valley spokesperson Maureen Curran Kleinman.

Cascio said the campaign was “really about choices,” but the hospital was doing its part to encourage people to eat meatless by spreading information.

“We are doing that by educating people about increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables and whole grains and hoping they’ll make that choice on their own,” she said.

During the initiative’s launch, employees at Valley’s various dining facilities dressed as chickens, pigs and cows to promote the movement, and a printed pledge was placed on each table. Free samples included a wheat berry salad made with spinach, blueberry, pineapple, pomegranate, molasses and mint.

it is non-binding, those who pledge say they are making an effort “to move forward with the intent of increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables,” she said.

While options have been available every day in the Valley cafeteria for vegetarian employees for more than a year now, Cascio said the entire food service staff is now embracing the idea.

The taste of the food probably doesn’t hurt either. Kleinman, who called herself a picky eater, said the wheat berry salad was “incredible.”

“Everyone hounded [Cascio] for the recipe,” she noted. “So many people asked for it that they sent it to all the employees.”

And anyone who wants to try Valley’s meatless meals can check out Valley’s Facebook page for a meatless recipe each week. Meanwhile, Valley Executive Chef John Graziano won second prize in a national healthcare cooking contest last month.

Continuing a two-year relationship with Catalpa Ridge Farm in Wantage, Graziano’s staff is cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables from the local farm.

“I like to eat whatever’s fresh,” he said. “Everything’s in season right now. We live in the Garden State.”  Going meatless costs the hospital about the same, Graziano said, since the price of meat has “skyrocketed.”

In addition, eating meatless protein and whole grains can be just as filling as eating meat, but leaves people feeling “lighter throughout the day,” he said.

“It takes a longer time to digest something that’s not overly processed,” he said, and because some whole grains like quinoa, faro and wheat berries have a lower glycemic index, they “give you that feeling of fullness throughout the day.”

If meatless cooking is better for you, then one question remains: Why Monday?

It’s not just the alliteration. Mondays are the ideal day to initiate a positive lifestyle change, according to the campaign’s launch organization.

According to the website, The Monday Campaigns, a non-profit national public health initiative in association with the

Valley employee John Bush prepares one of the new entrees.

Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, people are more likely to start diets, exercise, quit smoking and schedule doctors appointments on Monday than any other day. Popular culture is shifting away from thinking of Monday as the dreaded weekend’s end and conceiving of the day more positively as a fresh start.

“Monday is like the January of the week,” Cascio said.

Some people at the hospital were a “little bit concerned at first” because they thought they were being forced to eat vegetarian, but the initiative is only just beginning, she said.

Cooking meatless can be as enjoyable as eating meatless, according to Graziano.

“[Cooking meatless] makes it more interesting,” he said. “I think not being focused on the protein allows you to do a lot more things, actually.”

 

 

Twitter 101 by By Marsha Diamond, MA, RD

According to a recent research study by The Nielsen Company, “Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs to learn more, to engage and more. Traditional marketing/branding focuses on what brands attempt to portray to consumers. Social media allows consumers to tell brands about themselves, while simultaneously increasing brand awareness by promoting interaction and a sense of community.

Some major concerns of organizations, hospitals, healthcare organizations, restaurants, foodservice companies and individual that want to engage in Twitter.

  • “This could be the greatest way for us to get more sales, engage our customers, have our patients engage, make more money, but are we too late to get started”
  • “We’re afraid to try Social Media”
  • “If we start it may be to broad appeal and appealing to a broad spectrum audience as possible might limit our business”
  • “If we don’t do it several times a day every day we won’t get followers and it won’t be impactful”

To be successful in twitter:

Position your brand to appeal specifically to a certain type of customer, you stand out as different and are perceived as an expert. Twitter is a social media business cocktail party.

  • Have value added content
  • Industry news in the form of pictures, videos, press releases
  • Show interest in others
  • Ask questions of your followers related to your brand/industry
  • Comment on tweets you find relevant to your brand
  • Have a personality
  • Each tweet can only be 140 characters so try to be short and to the point.
  • A word about following: It is called follow Friday. Some of the hashtag look like this(#ff or #followfriday).
  • The #ff messages to extend the reach community. If you think someone is worth following reach out
  • Specific tweets you recommend people/brands to follow with the @ symbol and their Twitter handle
  • Talk less, listen more
  • Build credibility
  • Monitor consistently
  • Valuable resources: use free source tracking: google alert, igoogle, rss feeds

Ask yourself this?

  1. Are you in the daily conversation?
  2. Have you defined your social media “circle of influence?”
  3. Are you offering regular commentary on trends?
  4. Can you offer credible information in quick bites?
  5. Are you a “positive force,” or a “downer?”
  6. Have you made your credentials organic to the conversation?
  7. Do you support other credible voices?
  8. Give links to credible online sources

How Much Is That Tweet in the Window?

As for customer behavior, nearly half (47 percent) are somewhat more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Twitter or like on Facebook.

One of the greatest challenges facing the digital media world is the lack of understanding of its power. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest, among others, help brands establish thought leadership within their industry and among their customers.

But according to Harrison Painter, director of business development for BLASTmedia, most companies view social media in one of two ways: 1) A waste of time, or 2) a panacea for their marketing woes. Which one are you?

By Marsha Diamond, MA, RD
Foodservice Business Development Consultant/Strategic Speaker/Social Media Strategist
Cell: 732.616.7220   Email: marshadiamond@gmail.com

Simplicity in Leadership by Stephanie D. Conners, MBA, RN, BSN

 Leadership – a key attribute of everyone’s personality to a lesser or greater degree – is most often a learned behavior. Over the course of your life, you are faced with many options on whom to follow, and whom to lead. Starting from a very young age, your experiences begin to build upon the foundation of who you will become as an adult – one block at a time. Your personality is innately shaped, and the result determines what side of the leadership fence you are on. As a professional, you practice that same behavior and the subsequent impact to an organization is critical.

There are three sides to a fence – right, middle and left:

The right side is comprised of individuals who are considered high performers or “STARS”, most often our positive formal or informal leaders. They excel often (in all they do) through actions and results. High performers exist at every level of the organization and in every discipline. Just because an individual may have a management title does not make them a successful leader. Actions, results, accountability, compassion, humility, integrity, vision and candor, just to name a few, are all key attributes to being a right fence sitter.
The middle side is comprised of those who watch, assess and are unsure how to act on an issue – we call them our followers.

The left side includes those who are loud and unhappy. This unhappiness pervades both their personal and professional lives. Their loud collective voices have a profound impact and can influence – they are the “negative informal leaders” within the organization. They are the same people who come to Thanksgiving and tell you that your food is too hot and too cold, or they just do not like the choices. Consider the impact when you realize that the loud and unhappy people are working your schedule, and you say to yourself, “this is going to be a rough day”. And finally, those who state a problem without a solution simply add to the problem. Do you know anyone with these traits? Unfortunately, if tolerated, those who sit in the middle sometimes only hear the left side. Needless to say, this middle of the road stance damages even the strongest organization.

So again, what side of the fence do you want to be on, and how do you lead others away from the middle to the right side? We need to drive our teams to lead at every level of our organization. Those in the middle will most likely choose a side of the fence. Both formal and informal positive leaders need to have a louder voice, intolerant of mediocrity, and be willing to step up and address an issue with candor!

The drivers of successful organizations are the people who lead, and the people need to own the business, as well as, their individual behaviors.

Stephanie D. Conners, MBA, RN, BSN
Senior Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Is There Life After Being a Food Service Director? By Larry Kaplan

I must say “yes” after sitting on my deck on this gloomy day looking at the trees and flowers knowing that the sun will shine this afternoon and not in the form of a Press Ganey report, DOH Inspector, JCAHO Surveyor, Contractor salesperson or in the presence of a Hospital Administrator’s ominous glare.

My life as a Food Service professional started in 1969 and ended when I retired from St. Peter’s University Hospital in 2001 after 16 years of dedicated service where I was also one of the “founders” of GNJSHFSA and served as President and Director many times. Prior to my employment at St. Peter’s University Hospital I worked for ARA as Director of Food Service at St. Barnabas for 10 years.

In all of those years I could never imagine how good retirement could actually be. I thought of it often, but always considered it to be time that would be spent just relaxing after all of those stressful years on the “firing line”. Initially I just wanted to “unwind” although I found that to be difficult. The first month I considered myself to be on vacation but after that I missed the challenges, socialization and constant interactions with my fellow managers and friends. I found that people within our adult community did not have the same background and mindset that I had or the foggiest idea of what I was talking about. It became boring. We remained in that adult community in Lakewood for almost five years and then moved to Toms River where we live in a beautiful home in Holiday Heights which is an adult community of more than 1,400 homes.

At this point I decided it was time for me to become an active participant in the community. Initially I became chairman of the civic committee where I arranged for information about senior citizen activities to be disseminated throughout the community and then moved on to the chairmanship of the by-laws committee where I re-wrote the by-laws, some of which dated back to 1986. By this time I became comfortable with living here and started to enjoy myself.

All this while my wife Gloria continued to work part time as a teacher and not miss a beat with her trips to A.C. with her neighborhood friends. In fact Gloria became an EMT on the volunteer ambulance squad three years ago. I have to give her a lot of credit for doing that. She studied for about a year prior to going to state mandated classes and became certified after passing the state test. She is now an officer in the squad and also a certified CPR and AED instructor. After living with me and my diabetes which I’ve had for 43 years she had a lot of experience dealing with “sick people”.

My next challenge in the community was to become the President of the Social Club. We meet once a month and provide professional entertainment to the members. When I became president we had 150 members and built it up to 350 members. I did that along with Gloria for three years and then took a break for two years. I am now going to be President again starting this September. While doing this I also call bingo once a month in our community and at our Temple, work on the monthly newspaper, preparing it and delivering it, run the monthly movie which I select from Redbox or Blockbuster and participate in the walking club.

I now walk 2-3 miles per day. Gloria and I also are volunteers for “Caregivers of NJ” and do bi-weekly grocery shopping for seniors who are house the First Aid Squad members who is 90+ years old. While living in Lakewood I also volunteered at Kimball Medical Center.

During the last five years I also ran 3 senior bus trips to Myrtle Beach, Nashville and Cape Cod. Each trip had about 45 attendees and lasted from 7 to 9 days. We only had one death during one of the trips. Talk about learning the “laws” real fast. I also ran two Senior Health Fairs for the Ocean County population. Each fair had 60 exhibitors and were heavily advertised on radio, newspapers and road signs. I did this with no contributions from the community. I did charge a small fee to the “for profit” exhibitors and solicited contributions from the Funeral Directors who are naturally good sources of funds.

I had great support from Community Medical Center, Deborah Hospital and Ocean County Senior Services. We had about 1,000 seniors who participated in each fair. In fact I received calls from other communities seeking help with their promotions but I do not want to nor need to “work” at any set job. Of course being a senior also has many perks. There are the early bird dinners, free passes to Island Beach State Park, free concerts and special discounts along the way.

For our own personal entertainment Gloria and I have gone on more than ten cruises to the Caribbean, Panama Canal and Alaska. We have taken numerous trips to Las Vegas and Aruba and last year took the entire family to Disney World. Next year we are going to spend my 70th birthday in Arizona and New Mexico. In three more years we will have a real special trip for out 50th wedding anniversary.

We have two adult children and three grandchildren who can do nothing wrong. We are typical grandparents who spoil the children and then send them home with their parents. Our grandchildren are 8 (set of twin girls) and 10 (potential soccer pro). The grandchildren have taught us how to use the IPhone and IPod. My granddaughters communicate with me over Face Time. This is like watching Dick Tracey using his watch to communicate with when I was a kid.

There is only one last thing that I can say in order for any Food Service professional to be able to retire and enjoy life without having to worry about the future, you must start planning for your own retirement very early in life. Do not make the mistake of waiting and assuming that your employer “will take care of you” when you do decide to retire. Retirement benefits are being reduced across the country. Saint Peter’s is currently petitioning the IRS to completely change the current retirement plan which will affect all current and future retirees. It can happen to all of us, and if you do not plan properly you will be working until you are 100 years old. Do not let that happen.

2012 GNJSHFSA Culinary Training

The Greater New Jersey Health Care chapter of AHF held their first semiannual culinary training event at the Key Impact Sales/PBAC & Associates Test Kitchen in Franklin Lakes, NJ on May 3rd. To maximize the learning experience, the event was limited to 20 participants. The event was co-sponsored by Performance Food Group, Key Impact Sales and PBAC & Associates.

Chefs Steve Meir from Key Impact Sales and Robert Conti from Performance Foodservice chose an Asian Theme for the event. After a quick lesson on knife skills, Chef Steve began the class by describing the five disciplines of Asian Cuisine. Chef Robert followed with a stir-fry demo and Suzanne Peiffer, Clinical Nutritionist from Valley Hospital, led a discussion on the nutritional values of a typical Asian menu.

The class then moved to the test kitchen for hands on training. The trainees divided into teams of four and were given the task of preparing one item on the menu. The menu included hot and sour soup, cold duck salad, vegetable tempura, stir-fried chicken, spare ribs, dumplings, egg rolls and more. With a determined focus and enthusiasm the five teams performed superbly and we all enjoyed a delicious lunch together.

Food for the event was provided by Performance Food Group and Key Impact Sales. Chef knives were donated by Victorinox Swiss Army and cutting boards by Carlisle Foodservice. A raffle for a five piece knife roll from Victorinox Swiss Army was won by Ernesto from St. Barnabas Health.

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