Many years ago I was presented with an opportunity to come join the Judge Rotenberg Center family as the resident chef. I have found it to be one of the most challenging and most rewarding times of my career as a chef.

Our menu at the Judge Rotenberg Center is designed primarily around a vegan, plan-based diet. Being tasked with preparing these foods for a largely non-vegan population was a challenge I had never been faced with, but was excited to take on.

I remember one of the first recipes that I tried was a vegan brownie, which was served for dessert one day in my first weeks at JRC. I remember the excitement of the clients in the workshop as I delivered them. I watched from the corner of the room as they happily devoured the brownies, and thought to myself that this is what I need to be doing for them. I need to make these vegan foods as satisfying to the students and clients as I possibly can. I know vegan foods are foreign to most of our population, and are met with some apprehension, but if done well the foods can indeed be very satisfying.

students load their plates

Students happily load their plates at a special luncheon.

I have paid close attention to the feedback of our students and clients over the years, and I do my very best to make them as happy as possible with the meals we serve to them. They have been an instrumental part over the years in helping me build the menu to what it is today. We continue to grow and add new items, while removing any menu items that have become less favored. It is always a work in progress, and we make sure that they are part of that process.

Being in the foodservice and hospitality industry, it is our goal to make sure all who partake in our events or services come away as happy as possible with the food they have eaten. One of the events that I take particular joy in is a special monthly luncheon held for the students and clients. It is a menu of their choosing, and they are very glad to attend. I know that I can make them happy through the foods we prepare and this is one of those occasions where we all have a good time and enjoy.

Beyond my department, I also see the care and love that our staff shows on a daily basis. There is a lot of heart here which I feel isn’t always mentioned in the media but I have seen it firsthand. I have grown very proud of the Judge Rotenberg Center and all that we do for our students and clients.

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