At Ascend, we have a passion for ensuring the best possible care for our clients. To make sure they’re getting the best of the best, we hire staff members in every department that really know what they’re doing. One of our most essential team members is our executive chef, Stephen. He takes care of food buying and prep for every single Ascend facility. Whether it’s lunch at Canyons or dinner at Empress, we count on Stephen for everything food-related! Learn more about Chef Stephen and his work at Ascend today.
What Does An Executive Chef Do?
A healthy diet is a very important part of good mental health, and Chef Stephen is in charge of ensuring clients and on-site staff are well-nourished at all times. He coordinates menus based on client allergies as well as everyone’s likes and dislikes — that’s a long list to keep and update depending on who’s at our facilities at any given time!
Stephen sees clients and staff on a regular basis for more than just meal times, though! He’s also in charge of working on a garden that yields fresh fruits and vegetables for every meal. Clients who choose this experiential therapy spend time gardening and growing food, enjoying time outside, and learning life skills that will serve them well as they mature. Even if they don’t cook for a living, everyone should know where their food comes from and get as much fresh produce as possible! Who wants to eat ramen when you have fresh food at your fingertips?
Collaborating with Stephen
Many mentors and therapists see Stephen as a strong figure in the houses, and even clients tend to gravitate towards him. Quiet and serious, many of the kids in our care feel they can relate to him and share their stories. His openness subtly urges clients to open up to him. They can talk to him about their concerns without feeling like they’re in a therapy session.
Everyone agrees that mealtime with Stephen is a break from therapeutic activities, but it’s still a place where we acknowledge mindful living and make healthy choices. Patience and focus are standbys for Stephen and help him gently guide clients if they struggle with feelings about food.
Where Can You Find Stephen?
Stephen’s work is never done, and you can often spot him coming in and out of the house all day. He might be prepping a meal, heading out on a grocery run, creating new menus, or planning the garden expansion. He works hard to discover everyone’s favorites to ensure the house is always stocked with healthy go-to options as well as snacks and drinks.
With over two decades of experience in the food industry, it’s no surprise that he knows precisely what staff and clients need. Because Stephen takes care of all things food, clients can better focus on therapy, group work, and academics — as well as achieving their true potential.
Why We Love Stephen
By the end of their stay at Ascend, clients talk about Stephen like they do their therapists. He becomes a pillar in their treatment process and a reliable part of their everyday interaction with staff. His consistency and calm make everyone feel at ease! Stephen is just as passionate about helping people as we are, which makes him a perfect fit for Ascend.
Learn About Our Other Team Members
Since we hope to expand our facilities to help as many young people as possible, our team grows in tandem. With each addition to the staff, we encounter more compassionate, caring, and talented people that deserve recognition.
If you want more behind-the-scenes stories of the Ascend family, keep up with our blog for monthly staff spotlights that feature essential team members from across every department!