Tribune Print Share Text

Food service at its finest

Dining is a ‘serious and elegant business’ at Riderwood

Created date

December 25th, 2012

Serving meals to more than 2,700 people every day is no easy feat. But one community accomplishes it with flying colors. Riderwood, an Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., has four restaurants, a bistro, and a caf , where residents can enjoy or take home meals on a daily basis. The key to their satisfaction, says Executive Chef Victor Cirrincione, is having a competent team of restaurant employees and leaders.

It all starts here

Cirrincione has been in the food industry for 30 years. He s done everything from wash dishes to open his own restaurant, and for the last ten years he s been training chefs and cooking at Riderwood. Cirrincione feels he s there to please one giant family. Cooking for the same people allows him to know community members likes and dislikes when it comes to food and dining. Residents always offer their support, and they tell me if something s not right, Cirrincione says. He appreciates the feedback because, according to him, If you don t know what s wrong, you can t fix it. Cirrincione and his team of chefs know they can t please every resident at every meal; they aim to make meals delicious and nutritious every day.

Part of the equation

More than 300 students work as servers in Riderwood s restaurants, managed by Staff Development Manager Michael Alfaro. Born and raised in Silver Spring, Md., Alfaro has worked at Riderwood for nearly a decade. Though he majored in English in college, he worked in the service industry, and he believes in the skills it taught him. And it s those practical skills leadership, customer service, and communication that he helps foster in the high school and college student servers who work at Riderwood. Alfaro also builds relationships with the surrounding community to carry our mission outside of Riderwood, he says. He s brought in guest speakers for the staff and also helped with the Meals on Wheels program.

The bigger picture

Magdy Mishraky, director of dining services, oversees it all. He aims to ensure all staff members do their part. A lot of people don t have the right perception about dining in the senior living industry. People think residents are served hospital food. But no, we are a serious and elegant business, Mishraky says. As soon as people step on campus, they re hooked, and they understand. Mishraky moved from Egypt in the 1990s and has been with Erickson Living for 12 years. Though he has an engineering background, moving to the United States opened his opportunities in the hospitality industry, so much so that he changed his career, and he s happy he did. All three leaders agree that working at Riderwood is more than just a job. Mishraky breathes in the view each time he drives onto campus. Alfaro appreciates the culture and heartbeat of the campus. Cirrincione revels in the quality of service and life they re serving up on a daily basis.