Cura Hospitality is proud to celebrate highly satisfied team members! With a combination of 100-plus years of culinary, nutrition, and hospitality experience, our long-tenured employees featured here are happy to work for Cura. They stay because they know we care about the residents we serve, our commitment to service innovation, food quality and consistency, and just as important, their development across all career paths in order to better serve our clients.
In this challenging labor-sourcing environment, our success in workforce management speaks volumes to our experienced leadership, collaborative and inclusive culture, and invaluable support system that rewards our employees as they continue to grow with Cura.
Learn more about how we recruit and retain the very best people and follow their journeys as they continue to create Completely Satisfying experiences for residents, patients, guests, and staff every day!
Meet Cheryl Torre-Rastetter, a Cura manager for more than 20 years! Cheryl is the Director of Dining Services at Providence Point, one of the most distinctive senior living communities in Pittsburgh, PA. The community is routinely covered in national and local media, and was even featured by Food Management Magazine as a dining services innovator of the month!
At Providence Point, Cheryl provides an exceptional guest experience for the 425 independent living community residents who enjoy four restaurants and an exciting bar!
The Light HorseLounge is a favorite among residents, where Cheryl has been instrumental in increasing sales by 60%! The popular and multi-functional Light Horse Lounge has not just expanded seating with a quaint new seating area and stools at its custom bar but also added a temperature-controlled wine wall that holds over 250 bottles.
Cheryl is also known for her artistic and extensive catering talents that are sought out for weddings, family gatherings, and culturally themed events where global cuisine is routinely prepared by executive chefs. In fact, Cheryl collaborates with her chefs to conduct culinary education and live cooking demonstrations.
Cheryl’s farm-to-table experience is authentic – she lives on a 12-acre farm where she grows tomatoes and a variety of herbs, as well as partners with local farms, to bring some of the freshest produce to her community.
One of Cheryl’s proudest accomplishments was when her team was selected to host the 2012 American Culinary Federation (ACF) Pittsburgh Chapter Awards Dinner at Providence Point. Cura’s chefs were honored to prepare a five-course meal for more than 100 of Pittsburgh’s top chefs!
“Cura encourages your creativity and does not expect every account to be the same. I think this is what makes Cura special and different from our competitors. The client and Cura work together to exceed resident and administrative expectations.”
Celebrating his 26th year with Cura, meet Regional Director of Nutrition and Wellness Joe Herman, MS, RD, LDN. Among Joe’s many accolades, he was proud to be voted Cura Clinician of the Year!
Joe supervises a team of 26 registered dietitians, assists in managing Cura’s senior dining clinical programs, and facilitates essential communication with nursing staff, physicians, residents, team members, and family members.
As part of Cura’s clinical leadership team, Joe develops and streamlines policies and procedures, revitalizes recipe systems, and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements to ensure we’re “Nurturing wellbeing with every meal we serve” for all residents, regardless of their unique dietary needs or concerns.
Joe also supports many Cura signature programs including Enriched Foods Program, Handcrafted Delights, Puree Creations, and the So…Quenching Hydration Program. Joe also serves as a mentor/preceptor for dietetic college and dietary manager students.
Joe is extremely active with a number of Cura support teams including the Healthcare Leadership Team, Nutrition and Wellness Team, and NetMenu.
Joe has received a number of Cura awards including the Best Practice Team Award – for the “Red Plate Program”, the Customer Service Excellence Award for “Going the Extra Mile in Satisfying Residents and Clients”, and the Best Practice Team Award for the “Cura Culinary College”.
“I’ve been working with Cura for some time and have developed many trusted friendships that are like family members. We support each other to get the job done for the common goal of resident/patient, client, and team member satisfaction,” says Joe.
When Joe is not providing clinical support to Cura, he is a family man – spending time with his wife Joan and sons Nicholas and Joseph.
Meet Samuel E. Hawkins, a Cura supervisor who began his career as a dishwasher 26 years ago! Prior to serving Cura, Sam was a certified nursing assistant.
With on-the-job training and support from Cura managers, Sam was provided opportunities to grow with Cura into a supervisory role where he continues to thrive and is well-thought-of by the residents!
In his current role at St. Catherine’s Village, a retirement community in Madison, Mississippi, Sam oversees the tray line for employees in the Tuscany kitchen where he produces 150 meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Sam cares about his family at St. Catherine’s as evidenced by the fire he extinguished last year on campus. When the fire started in skilled care, Sam calmly alerted the director of nursing and sprang into action – grabbed the fire extinguisher, and proceeded to put out the fire!
For his act of heroism, Sam was named the community’s employee of the month and was given a standing ovation from all of St. Catherine’s residents who were present at the ceremony!
Sam’s favorite part of his job is interacting with the residents. He loves the conversations, engagement, and more importantly, the opportunity to serve them. Sam enjoys all sports and will often speak with residents and other staff members about the latest games, statistics, or favorite players.
What Sam likes best about Cura is the opportunity to learn, grow with Cura, and engage with staff and residents – he loves to give back to them. They are more than his job; they are his friends!
For more than 14 years, Jessica “Jess” Pettie has called Cura her home!
Currently the General Manager of Dining Services at Phoebe Berks in Wyomissing, PA, Jess is responsible for planning, organizing, as well as coordinating dining services activities and systems. Jess has made quite an impact at Phoebe Berks by increasing resident satisfaction through dining initiatives such as pub-style dining!
Jess mentored accomplished managers who started her off as a sous chef at a senior living community in Harleysville, PA. She next became a production manager and finally an assistant dining director with Phoebe Richland in Richlandtown, PA.
It wasn’t long before Jess’s talents were recognized! Jess was selected to participate in many of Cura’s Chef Challenges which is based on the Food Network’s popular “Iron Chef” show! Jess served as a lead chef where skill, speed, and ingenuity were the recipe for success!
Jess was instrumental in supporting Phoebe’s new pub. Phoebe created this new dining venue with a full liquor license and turned to their dining partner Cura to drive the food and spirits experience.
“My goal was to partner with Phoebe in creating a safe and convenient space for our residents to stop in for a drink and enjoy pub food,” says Jess, who helped to design the pub-style menu based on popular foods and local favorites.
According to Jess, “I enjoy the partnerships that are created within the company. I always know I have a team to ask questions or have a support system in place.”
When Jess is not serving her residents, she is enjoying six amazing nieces and nephews!
Meet Chef Lance Franklin, Corporate Executive Chef.
We are proud to have Chef Lance as part of our Cura Hospitality team, where he serves as our Corporate Executive Chef! In his 12-year career, Chef Lance has dedicated himself to the culinary world.
As a native New Orleanian, Chef Lance grew up reveling in the rich culture of the city’s culinary exploits attending culinary school locally to start his culinary career. As an apprentice at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside, Chef Lance learned a lot about the industry and the people who make it work. After working for Lowes Hotel and The Ritz Carlton, he worked for a non-profit organization where he helped usher in healthy food programs for surrounding area schools.
But what is near and dear to him is elevating healthy eating and helping others learn more about how food affects their body.
Learning from his personal experiences and struggles, Chef Lance uses both his personal story, as well as professional expertise to teach others about different paths that they can take to attain wellbeing through proper nutrition.
Chef Lance shares his own journey that started over 13 years ago after being sick and trying to regain his former weight and self. Utilizing diet and proper positive consumption, Chef was able to change his mental processes, improve his physical appearance, and reach his wellbeing goals.
Chef Lance says, “Cura’s BeWell platform is a great tool to utilize within all of our dining centers that provides healthy meal options for our patrons. It’s a comprehensive tool that helps give insights into the meals that we serve and also gives our customers their favorite comfort foods with a healthy twist.”
Chef Lance now tours senior living communities across the country, advocating for nutritional awareness and serving as a mentor to others.
Beyond learning about his passion for advocacy, we had a chance to learn more about the dishes he loves, and in particular, his favorite dish! He tells us, as a New Orleanian, “My favorite dish from home is Banana Fosters which was the first recipe I ever attempted as a child. This dish has some sentimental family value as well, which brings me back every time I taste the sweet, savory, chilled blend of ice cream with the warm richness of the butter rum sauce.”
Like all true chefs, Chef Lance has also experimented with different ways to prepare this dish and shares with us that he has developed a vegan version, which uses plantains instead of bananas! Residents also have an opportunity to enjoy his recipes!
The time is now to join Cura, where you can work side-by-side with some of the best people in our industry. Grow with Cura today!