When the Cherry Village Benevolence dietary staff recently began discussing big menu changes, they knew they would get the best ideas from residents of the short- and long-term-care facility.
So, they talked to everyone about likes and dislikes, and compiled meal and snack menus that taste good and have the proper nutritional value, Dietary Manager Andrea Davidson said.
“While talking with our residents, we heard some new ideas, along with requests that some items remain on the menu,” Davidson said. “We wanted to hear about what they like, as well as the meals they are not too fond of.
“This has resulted in new menus that most people seem to like,” she continued. “However, if we hear someone isn’t happy with that day’s selections, we will whip up something they do want. They deserve to have this kind of input every day.”
Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane, collaborated with Ben E. Keith Company to revise the menus. The company supplies virtually all recipe ingredients.
“We order the ingredients for made-from-scratch meals,” Davidson noted. “We don’t order pre-made meals, even though they are available.”
When compiling a list of ingredients, the dietary staff keeps the seasons of the year in mind. For example, they take advantage of fresh tomatoes in the summer and provide hot soups in the winter.
“Ben E. Keith has worked with us for a long time and we are free to submit menu changes anytime,” Davidson said. “We know when to make changes because we listen to our residents. And if someone really likes something, we make sure the ingredients are available here.
“One example is a woman who loves – really loves - bacon and tomato sandwiches. We make sure we are prepared at all times.”
The staff knows residents must eat well-balanced meals to get the proper nutrients, and Ben E. Keith understands this too, Davidson commented.
“They are a huge help to us; the information they provide is the basis for what I do every day,” she said. “Meal planning can be a real logistical challenge but Ben E. Keith helps us streamline everything.”
Andy Mattison, Ben E. Keith direct sales representative, has collaborated with Cherry Village for about 20 years.
“I usually visit Andrea once a week to discuss her food-service needs,” said Mattison, a Hays resident. “It is a real joy to work with her and the staff. They are a friendly, professional and hard-working group.
“Cherry Village has one of the most caring and considerate staffs I have worked with,” he added. “They go over and above to make food appealing and delicious for their residents.”
Cherry Village Administrator Pam Lewis said Davidson is a strong leader for the 10-person kitchen staff.
“Andrea has always been hands-on and genuinely cares about our residents,” Lewis said. “She took a lot of initiative in making the recent menu changes. Andrea and the rest of the dietary staff should be commended.”
A local family has managed Cherry Village, a non-profit facility, since it opened in 1978.