FOOD! GLORIOUS FOOD!
A Q&A With Tania Ramirez, Morningside’s New Director of Food and Beverage Services
Delicious food is extremely important to residents living in a retirement community. Just a few years ago, Morningside’s restaurants and kitchens underwent a major renovation to ensure that residents enjoy their dining experience on a daily basis. Morningside’s menus feature 40 different options every day of the week. Residents also have their pick as to where they eat: in the restaurant, the Pacific Lounge, Pizza and Sports bar or the Wine Room. They can even grab a quick bite from the Grab n’ Go Deli for dining at home.
One of the hallmarks of Morningside is its reputation for outstanding food. We recently talked with Tania Ramirez, Morningside’s new Food and Beverage Director, to learn about her culinary goals for the community.
Q. What are your priorities as the new F&B Director?
A. Key priorities are to provide great service and great food, while ensuring that our team has positive interactions with the residents. I want residents to enjoy the same dining experience they would have if they went to a restaurant. To achieve that, the dining room staff must be well-trained and responsive to the residents. The kitchen team must deliver wonderful food while following best practices for safety and sanitation.
Q. How do you keep the menu fresh and exciting for the residents?
A. Besides ensuring that the food is delicious, we work very hard to provide lots of variety. I draw inspiration by eating at different restaurants to identify emerging food trends and what’s popular among the general population. The National Restaurant Association, the number one organization in our industry, is also an important resource.
We enjoy creating specialty menus every few months to take advantage of seasonal produce and put our creativity to work. Holidays provide another great opportunity to spread our culinary wings with barbecues, buffets, ice cream socials and other food events. Our wine-pairing dinners, featuring experts from the wine industry, are held every few months and are very popular.
Q. How do you address the dietary needs of the residents living at Morningside?
A. Some of our residents require gluten-free and dairy-free food and we strive to create tasty options that meet these needs. For example, we make a rice flour soup that is gluten-free and has become a huge hit with the residents. We also recently introduced gluten-free brownies made from a gluten-free brownie base. Chocolate chips and nuts are added for texture and additional flavor. It’s important to experiment with new gluten- and dairy-free items to keep the menu fresh and creative.
We are also seeing increased demand for vegetarian dishes. Many residents prefer smaller, lighter portions and enjoy non-meat options from time to time. Desserts are offered with or without sauce to eliminate butter and cut calories.
All in all, we offer a very full menu that not only meets the taste and nutrition requirements of the residents, but also caters to family and friends who might be visiting.
Press Release, October 30 2018
MORNINGSIDE RETIREMENT COMMUNITY NAMES NEW FOOD AND BEVERAGE DIRECTOR
New director exemplifies Morningside’s employee development program
FULLERTON, CALIF. – Morningside of Fullerton, the continuing care retirement community in Fullerton, California, has promoted Tania Ramirez to Food and Beverage Director. Morningside was recently named a “Great Place to Work” by the organization that develops the “100 Best Places to Work” annual list for Fortune magazine.
Ramirez will manage all aspects of Morningside’s food and beverage activities for the community, including menu planning and food preparation. She will be responsible for supervising the culinary and serving staffs, as well as the community’s catering, bakery, food and beverage departments. Morningside’s culinary staff prepares and serves approximately 2,500 meals each week in the community’s dining rooms and for special events and family celebrations. All selections are created to support the dietary guidelines and needs of Morningside’s residents.
Ramirez joined the Morningside culinary crew 17 years ago as a dining room server and embodies Morningside’s internal Talent Development Review process, the community’s program to promote from within. The TDR process trains in-house talent to prepare them for the next level in their career path rather than look outside to fill job openings at the community.
Ramirez was promoted to dining room assistant manager and worked in that capacity for six years. She was then promoted to dining room manager and filled that role for nine years until her recent promotion to Director of Food and Beverage. Ramirez is currently attending the Culinary Arts school at Cypress College and holds certificates in Culinary Arts Fundamentals and Food and Beverage Fundamentals. She also earned certificates in management, hospitality purchasing and customer service from the National Restaurant Association.
“The food and beverage director position at Morningside is one of the most critical jobs at our community,” said Richard Nordsiek, executive director. “Delicious food is extremely important to the residents, who have high expectations when it comes to taste and selection. Tania is dedicated to making sure that quality and variety are always on the menu.”
Morningside of Fullerton, located at 800 Morningside Dr. in Fullerton, California, is a continuing care retirement community for people 60 years of age and older featuring a variety of housing options and a package of services, activities and amenities. The award-winning community was recently certified by Great Place to Work® in recognition of its high-performance workplace culture. More information can be found at www.morningsideoffullerton.com.