Dining Director Bridgett Sherman: Providing Delicious Meals in a COVID World
Noble Horizons’ Director of Dining Bridgett Sherman knows her way around the kitchen. And she should, considering she’s worked at Noble for upwards of 20 years. Starting out as a dietary aide, Bridgett has been a dishwasher, prep chef, chef, and Assistant Director before assuming the role of Director a year ago. Because of this journey through the kitchen, Bridgett rightfully claims, “I know every job and what needs to be done and how they all fit together. And I pitch in wherever the help is needed.”
As Director of Dining, Bridgett’s job description is simple, “I’m the boss of the kitchen.” In that role, she oversees menu planning, food and supply orders, hiring, and scheduling. Bridgett particularly enjoyed interacting with guests as they dined in Noble’s spectacular dining room which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Berkshire foothills, multiple ponds and soaring fountain, brilliantly lit every evening. Since COVID, however, the dining room has been closed and Bridgett seeks feedback and recommendations by visiting rooms.
A critical component of Bridgett’s job is ensuring that every resident’s specific dietary restrictions and requirements are met at each meal. She develops meals in consultation with Noble’s registered dietician, Sue Mastrangelo, to plan menus that are balanced and nutritious, as well as prepared and served in a suitable manner for the residents’ specifications.
When a resident arrives at Noble, Bridgett receives dietary orders from the nursing staff. Bridgett explains, “Each meal goes through a dietary menu breakdown and is adapted for resident needs.” This means that menu items will be appropriate for those with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, low sodium, diabetes, and even gluten-free. “We also have to ensure that the food is the right consistency to enable a resident to eat it safely.”
Bridgett left the kitchen briefly during her 20-year career at Noble to enroll in Noble’s free Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program. After successfully completing the program she worked as a CNA for 15 months. “I have so much empathy for the CNA role. I know how busy they are and how things come up.”
Though she enjoyed her time as a CNA, Bridgett missed the kitchen where she is most at home. She especially relishes engaging with guests in the dining room, many of whom she’s known for years. “It’s very rewarding to make them happy. It also feels good to get compliments on the food or the menu choices.”
Because the dining room is closed in order to meet COVID-19 safety protocols, Bridgett and her dedicated team provide room service for all three daily meals. Department members wear masks and gloves throughout the day and don full PPE to clean dishes after the meals. Noble’s building layout allows the kitchen and dietary staff to minimize any chance of infection, “We leave food trays on carts outside the kitchen and they are picked up and returned there after meals. We have no interaction with the rest of the building. Our procedures and screening tests are effective and it’s made all the difference.”
Bridgett’s long experience preparing and feeding nutritious and delicious meals also benefits the entire Noble community. Bridgett and her exceptional team treat Noble employees to a monthly staff meal, they cater countless community events, including the popular Festival of Trees Gala and Noble’s art opening receptions, and they inject excitement into daily life with special events such as ice cream sundae socials and barbeques, holiday celebrations like Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year or Cinco de Mayo. They also feed hundreds on major holidays like Thanksgiving, and they regale residents with fresh lobsters at the Auxiliary’s annual lobster feast.
As the Director of Dining at Noble Horizons, Bridgett not only promotes optimal health by serving fresh nutritious and delicious meals, she brings people together and infuses joy and celebration for all!
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