Women in Culinary Who Inspire Us


With hard work and perseverance, these women are serving as leaders in the kitchen and shaking up the culinary scene. They’re showing the world what they’re capable of and helping pave the way for others.

In what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, these women are finding a recipe for success in professional kitchens by exerting influence and applying their unique creativity and style to the art of cooking. Here are 3 inspirational stories of women who are making an impact.


Chef Lindsay Homewood“Moving into an Executive Chef position at the age of 26, I was younger than all but one team member on staff. Learning to lead and manage as a young female on the culinary scene was not easy, but I was fortunate to have a tremendous boss at the time who provided me with a lot of support and coaching.

Now a Corporate Executive Chef at Morrison Community Living, I feel empowered to show all of the amazing women that work in our kitchens that they can continue to grow their careers, especially in a company like this.

Work hard. Take pride in your work. Admit when you’ve made a mistake. Treat people well and build relationships with your team. LOVE FOOD. Hone your technique and you will find your voice as a leader. Be true to that voice.”

– Lindsay Homewood, Corporate Executive Chef at Morrison Community Living


Chef Abbie Greenberg“I didn’t become an Executive Chef overnight. The journey wasn’t a piece of cake. Being a young woman of Asian descent, brought its own challenges, but I was working 16 hour days and always striving to prove myself to others.  I constantly had to introduce myself with a grocery list of achievements so people would know my worth.

As a single, full-time working mom living in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. (San Francisco), it was frightening. But I kept my eye on the prize and stayed focused through all of these obstacles.

Several years ago, I was encouraged by a fellow female chef to share my culinary abilities with seniors. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. As I embarked on my journey with Morrison Community Living, the daily smiles and warm embraces from my residents changed me on so many levels as a chef.

The residents are always asking me how my day is going and they’re excited to show up for a Teaching Kitchen eagerly waiting to watch me cook. The reward is truly overwhelming. It’s important that we continue sharing these lessons in life to inspire, ignite and challenge others to embrace the unknown.”

– Abbie Greenberg, Executive Chef, Forum at Rancho San Antonio  


Chef Lisa Sanders“My passion for food gives me the drive and motivation to do what I do each and every day. Early on in my career, I was fueled by the fact that I was going into a male-dominated industry, but I never looked at it as an obstacle. As long as you use your creativity, passion and precision to deliver a good product, you can achieve anything.

As a young chef, I had to lead a team of cooks that had been in the kitchen for years. I was always trying to prove myself to them that I am capable, even if I didn’t have as much experience.

When I found my niche in the senior living industry, I felt at home. The appreciation I receive from residents is unbeatable, and Compass Group supports exciting growth opportunities for chefs. As a participant in the Food Fight competition held by Morrison Community Living and TouchPoint, I was put to the challenge, which only helped me further my skills.

Compass is really focused on creating a gender-balanced environment. It’s not about whether you’re a male or female. We’re all chefs and we’re all in this together.”

– Lisa Sanders, Executive Chef, Fox Run at Orchard Park 

Women in Culinary Who Inspire Us 2019-09-18T15:08:51-05:00

A Recipe for Sustainable Eating


It is extremely important to be cognizant of ways to reduce food waste in our kitchens. By incorporating portions of ingredients that typically get thrown out or unused, we can drive change when it comes to waste reduction.

Our chefs are empowered to operate as business owners or intraprenuers. This mindset allows them to think and act as if they owned the establishment and paid the bills. In turn, this sparks innovation on how to reduce costs, reduce waste and behave authentically and with integrity.

Simple ingredients such as broccoli stems, cauliflower stems, pineapple cores, and cilantro sprigs tend to be suspects that make their way into the trash.  These items, fine julienned or thinly sliced, can all be pickled to make a great salad. Cilantro stems can also be created into a pesto that is folded into an aioli as a spread on a sandwich.

Let’s all continue to think as a “business owner” and seek ways to be more socially and environmentally responsible.

A Recipe for Sustainable Eating 2019-08-06T11:30:56-05:00



A diverse hospitality workforce is brought together by a program that encourages recognition and relationships, driving better engagement, retention and satisfaction. 

Taking Teamwork to New Levels

Cantata is a nonprofit senior living community helping individuals to live their best lives as they age. Based in Illinois, their successful campus services include independent living, assisted living and enhanced, long-term care. When Stephen Manno came on board as Morrison Community Living’s on-site General Manager of Hospitality in 2017, he noticed a disconcerting trend. Cantata’s nutritional, environmental, housekeeping and nursing teams all depended on each other, yet interactions between these groups were siloed, with limited intergenerational and inter-group communication. The result was a staff whose members were serious about their jobs but lacked the higher levels of inclusiveness and open communication found in the most successful healthcare and hospitality organizations.

Manno and Cantata’s leadership agreed that there was an opportunity for improvement and Manno leveraged Morrison’s Hospitality Experience program to make it happen. The process began at Showtime, Morrison’s short, all-hands meeting held at every client location before breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition to providing information necessary for meal service, Showtime also offered team members an opportunity to recognize each other for jobs-well-done. The experience was so heartening and successful that it opened the door to a more formal, expanded program. 

An early component of the program was the establishment of a core mode of behavior, which could be summed up as, “We’re happy to be here.” This included being sure to speak kindly to one another, always remembering to say “please” and “thank you.” It also included a recommendation to respond to thanks with “my pleasure” or “happy to do it,” which reinforces ownership of a helpful act, instead of “you’re welcome.” Even the simple act of smiling at each other helps to set the stage for developing better relationships, common ground and mutual respect. From there, Manno instituted Morrison’s formal peer-to-peer recognition program in which he began by telling team members, “Managers can’t be at all points of service to witness all of the extraordinary things this team does. We need your help to bring those moments of excellence to light.” He then set up a computer to make it convenient for his associates to write recognitions for each other at the start or end of a shift.

Morrison Director of Field Learning, Tom Rummel, noted that language barriers needed to be overcome in order to encourage better interactions and communication. Even though all team members spoke English, many felt more comfortable speaking their first language (most commonly Spanish and Polish). Since the formal recognition was input into a computer, team members were encouraged to write comments in their preferred language; Manno then translated comments into English. Even with the imperfections of online translation tools, the specific information and feelings within everyone’s comments were clear.

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Case Study: Friendship Village



Data, analytics and insights from Morrison Community Living drove transformation, branding and programming for Friendship Village dining venues. Morrison’s findings and resulting actions are increasing revenue, improving resident satisfaction and boosting occupancy.

“We pushed the envelope by building a restaurant in a senior living community that can be open to the public.”
Phillip Dopson, Vice President of Design and Retail

A Bold, First Step

 With its resident-centric philosophy, Friendship Village recognized how important state-of-the-art dining venues are – and would continue to be – for residents. With an eye toward transformation, the community’s leaders awarded Morrison Community Living the dining services contract in 2015. “Right away, we began to engage in strategic visioning with Morrison which led to the first big step forward with our dining transformation – the Mosaic dining room,” explained Ben Gilchrist, Friendship VillageVice President of Operations. 

“Current and future residents wanted an upscale, full-service dining venue and more on-campus dining variety,” noted Phillip Dopson, Morrison Vice President of Design and Retail. With that in mind, the multi-phase transformation started by converting 

an existing three-meal-a-day buffet into Mosaic, a chic, new restaurant that couldn’t be more different from its predecessor. Guests are greeted and seated by hostesses, orders are taken tableside on iPad technology and chefs prepare food in a central, 360-degree open kitchen – with no walls or doors. And, guests order what they want from a menu that changes seasonally to reflect the freshest of ingredients. Adjacent to the restaurant is a permanent Teaching Kitchen which offers creative, culinary hands-on learning experiences for residents, families and prospects. “We went from no experience to a true dining experience,” Dopson affirmed.

Continue Reading Full Article

Case Study: Friendship Village 2019-05-20T11:55:29-05:00

Celebrate National Nutrition Month


National Nutrition Month

By Traci Miller, Sr. Director of Nutrition & Wellness

March is National Nutrition Month, which focuses on learning how you can tweak your food and beverage choices to be your healthiest YOU!  Morrison Community Living is committed to promoting the importance of good nutrition—not just to the communities we serve, but also to guests and colleagues as well. Morrison is joining Compass Group in exploring different flavors to increase enjoyment of healthy foods through our theme #FindYourFlavor. Experimenting with flavor is one way you, and those we serve, can enjoy more plant-forward and other nutrient-rich recipes.

Morrison Community Living has a highly specialized team of clinical experts that includes 20 clinical leaders and over 300 Registered Dietitian Nutritionists across the country. They serve as the ambassadors of wellbeing by providing all of the tools and resources to live a healthier life. Our strategy is to stay on top of trends while guiding you with practical advice based on sound science.  In addition, we ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities through training on best practices, policy development and guidance and process improvement through in-depth quality assurance programs.

Throughout National Nutrition Month, our team will be engaging with residents and colleagues by providing educational activities and hands-on programs such as Teaching Kitchens or Chef’s tables to drive excitement. March 27 is Whole Grain Sampling Day which is an opportunity for guests to try different types of whole grains while learning about their health benefits.

In addition to programs and promotions, our team is providing the following simple tips to keep in mind when trying to improve lifestyle habits:

  • Eat right for your lifestyle—work on healthy eating habits that are personal and unique to you.
  • Move your mind and body—exercise is important to your physical and cognitive health
  • Be mindful of portion sizes and calories—get out the measuring cups and look at the nutrition label to make informed decisions.
  • Consult the nutrition experts—Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are there to give you the advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health needs.

By incorporating these tips into your lifestyle, you will feel better while reducing the risks of chronic disease.

So, how are you going to make the most out of National Nutrition Month?

Celebrate National Nutrition Month 2019-03-11T10:55:32-05:00

National Safety Month: Safety Talk


National Safety Month is here and we decided to get the inside scoop from our very own Safety Manager, Kyle Tassone.

Since his arrival a year ago, he’s put his own spin on safety as the company’s first Corporate Safety Manager. He’s helped to create an engaging safety environment for associates and is excited about the future of Morrison.

We caught up with him to discuss the role safety plays for our associates, residents and guests:

We know safety is a top priority for Morrison. What are some ways to proactively drive safety?

  • Face time is critical. Building those connections is key so getting in the field to proactively assist accounts is a top priority.
  • We are always in learn and grow mode. Understanding where you’ve been charts a positive path forward, which is why it’s important to host weekly incident reviews.
  • Safety isn’t a once a week focus – it’s a 24/7 top company priority. We work to provide an array of support resources and training to associates to ensure compliance.
  • With only one Corporate Safety Manager, it’s important that I interact with as many people as possible as much as possible. One way to do that is presenting at new manager orientation. I’m able to reinforce the role our associates play in shaping a culture of safety while linking a name with a face.
  • Making safety an ingrained part of culture is a positive way to reduce incidents and promote a heathy community. Our monthly safety calendars give tips and suggestions for accounts to focus on each day, reinforced by our monthly safety webinars, calls and resources on our safety website.

How is Morrison driving safety?

Morrison has the second lowest incident frequency rate out of Compass and is well below the industry standard.

This is due to our combination of monthly activities, like the webinars and calendar. This month, for national safety, we are covering burns. Also, we’ve implemented Take 5 cleanliness, where associates break and clean up their work area. At the end of the day, safety means ownership as we’re all responsible for getting everyone home in the same if not better shape than they arrived.

Can safety be fun?

Of course! Associates sometimes dress up their non-slip shoes with cool socks. I know some of the dining directors often get creative with their ties as well. Annually, we host a social media contest engaging team members to upload pictures practicing safety. This year, communities have gotten pretty innovative. Villa St. Benedict out in Illinois did a mannequin video challenge, which was pretty cool. I’m always impressed by the dedication and creativity of our team members.

What’s safety look like for Morrison in the future?

First, the ultimate goal is to be in the top tier of safety within compass overall. Morrison can make strides in doing so by participating in the safety boot camp program, quarterly safety assessments and continuing to have those conversations daily.

Anything you want to say to all the associates out there for National Safety Month?

Let’s try to really engage our family members this final week! Go ahead and have some fun with the social media contest, win those gift cards and really drive home the safety mindset that develops each and every day.

Kyle shows how to make safety fun with his stylish socks complementing his non-slip shoes.

Be safe out there!

National Safety Month: Safety Talk 2018-01-28T20:20:40-05:00

The Season for Inclusion


The holiday season is a perfect time to celebrate diversity and inclusion. We at Morrison Community Living value diversity and want to create a workplace where all employees feel welcomed and valued. And we’re pleased to see how our teams are engaging one another. On our annual associate survey, we saw an 11 percent increase in diversity and awareness. We believe in the power of ongoing programming to encourage collaboration and learning, two things we feel are critical to building a successful diverse workforce. The holidays are a time of reflection and good will, a perfect setting for celebrating our uniqueness.

Here are a few extra things you can do to celebrate diversity and inclusion this holiday season:

  • Take advantage of holiday parties. Holiday parties can help you meet and grow your network, which in turn can lead to more knowledge about the business and those you work with.
  • Reach out to those individuals who look or normally sit alone. Invite them to sit with you at lunch or invite them to dinner; you never know a little act of kindness can go a long way.
  • Research and learn about other holiday celebrations. There are a variety of religious beliefs, cultural traditions and customs celebrated during the holiday season. Watch a TV special about other celebrations, or check out books at your local bookstore while gift shopping. The more we learn about each other, the more we understand.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask co-workers what they enjoy about the holidays and what they find challenging. Use this opportunity to share what you like about the holiday season as well. Let it be an opportunity to learn about different cultures and religions.
  • Avoid any negative comments or conversation and maintain an attitude of gratitude and joy. It will prove contagious!

We’re all responsible for creating a culture of inclusiveness. A reminder to everyone to celebrate our differences as we move forward into the New Year!

The Season for Inclusion 2017-02-17T02:03:08-05:00

Residents Get a Taste of 12 Cultures Through “A Meal In The Life”


Serving more than 350 senior living communities across the country, we offer an annual themed dining program to create culinary experiences for residents. Our 2015-16 fiscal year dining program, A Meal In The Life (AMITL), took residents on a year-long journey visiting 12 different cultures. From authentic cuisines to songs, dances and customs, AMITL celebrated diversity and the backgrounds of many of our residents and associates.

“The majority of our residents enjoyed the different menus and the education we provided them,” said Steve Scranton, Director of Dining Services for Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina. “One of our residents served a mission in India and he was really excited. He purchased some spices and candy from an Indian store and brought them to me three months prior to the scheduled month for that culture.”

AMITL also garnered national media attention, including being featured in the FoodService Director Magazine and the Memphis Business Journal.


To get a better picture of this dining event series, we created a fun video (see above) highlighting some of the cultural celebrations that took place in our communities throughout the year.

Overall, AMITL brought to life our purpose of enriching the lives of seniors every day. It also showed that at any age you can have new experiences. We are grateful to all of the communities who took part in AMITL and we are looking forward to the next dining event series, Heirloom. Stay tuned!

Residents Get a Taste of 12 Cultures Through “A Meal In The Life” 2018-01-28T20:20:41-05:00

Social Media Use Has Physical, Mental Health Benefits for Seniors


Use of email, instant messaging and social media can result in less loneliness and fewer chronic illnesses and symptoms of depression for older adults, according to new research published online by the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

And, Michigan State University researcher William Chopik, Ph.D., and his coauthors found, seniors like networking in such ways. More than 95% of participants in their study (average age: 68) said they were either “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with such technology, and 72% said they were not opposed to learning new technologies.
Read the full story on McKnight’s Senior Living website.

Social Media Use Has Physical, Mental Health Benefits for Seniors 2016-09-28T15:37:34-05:00

How MCL Residents and Associates Keep Connected


A common misconception about seniors is that they don’t use technology nor have a willingness to want to learn. However, today’s seniors are well traveled, well informed and well connected. With National Assisted Living Week upon us, we sat down with our Senior Director of Technology, Karen Taylor, to explore this year’s theme “Keep Connected.”

MCL: What are your job duties and responsibilities as the Senior Director of Technology?

KT: I manage the technology strategy for Morrison Community Living, working with corporate IT to strategize and share innovative technology processes and solutions. Part of that involves looking at new and exciting emerging technology trends. I also look at how existing technologies are being used in other industries to see how those same technologies can best be used in our senior living communities.

MCL: How are assisted living residents staying up to date with the latest technology? Any challenges?

KT: One of the challenges with technology solutions is the range of awareness and comfort among the senior community, be it independent living, assisted living or memory care.  A growing number of seniors are technology savvy, continually learning from younger generations and through the internet on their own phones.  At the other end of the spectrum, there are more passive users who require much more coaching or engagement. 

The introduction of new technologies like TVs and media walls will continue to bridge this gap.

MCL: How are associates using technology and innovative tools to enhance care to residents?

KT: We are on the cusp of an exciting time for technology use in our senior communities.  Associates are currently using technology devices and applications to manage the residents’ dining experience. Doing so allows for personalized attention with menus catered to their individual preferences and dietary requirements.  Behind the scenes, technology is also being used to manage operational functions including tracking meals, inventory management and environmental support services.  Moving towards the future, the end goal is to increase automation and efficiencies as well as reduce paper and dual data entry.  In addition, we will continue to explore ways to manage personalized care through technology (e.g. facial recognition).  We will also continue to look at other applications as they relate to regulatory compliance and resident safety.

MCL: What innovative changes can we look forward to in Morrison communities and in the assisted living industry in general?

KT: There are so many existing and emerging technologies that can be applied in our communities. From wireless home automation and connected home devices to video and voice technology – the sky’s the limit. There’s also a number of mobile applications to make it easier to connect friends, family, associates and residents. Topics can include education and learning, healthy living and beyond. In the near future, for example, a resident could use a voice command on a smart TV to submit meal requests for lunch/dinner in the cafe, schedule a room cleaning, review the day’s community activities and events, share photos on social media and much more.  

With technology evolving daily, it’s a great opportunity for our residents, associates and communities to connect in a whole new way. We’re excited to see what the future has in store for our communities and the assisted living industry as a whole.

How MCL Residents and Associates Keep Connected 2018-01-28T20:20:41-05:00