Cassia in the News

This is a collage of food that Cassia's culinary staff have made for residents

Cassia’s Culinary Excellence: A Pinnacle of Dining Delight

At Cassia, we understand that food is more than just nourishment for the body; it’s a celebration of life itself. Food has the power to remind us of special memories, make us feel strong emotions and bring people together.

Our culinary team puts their hearts into every meal they make for our residents. And, we’re proud that their hard work is getting noticed. Several of our communities have received the prestigious 2024 Pinnacle Customer Experience Award.

In fact, for several years now, Cassia has consistently outperformed the national average in the areas of Food Quality, Dining Services and Menu Variety.

“At Cassia, we recognize that each dining experience is a critical event in the daily life of our residents. The right nutrition, served in a way the resident prefers, is a great way to promote the desired health care outcomes of each person,” says Bob Dahl, President/ CEO at Cassia.

“I’m grateful for our culinary teams who pursue excellence, one of our core values, in our dining services. Thank you for supporting the mission of Cassia to foster fullness of life for older adults in the spirit of Christ’s love.”

Every year, Pinnacle Quality Insight recognizes organizations that go above and beyond in offering an exceptional experience to their residents.

Winning this award is no small feat. With more than 2,700 care providers evaluated through 150,000 interviews, only the top 15 percent receive this prestigious award. The award covers various categories, including Food Quality, Dining Services and Menu Variety.

Cassia’s culinary journey from 2021 to 2024 has been one of constant improvement and dedication. One of Cassia’s strongest areas has been in Quality of Food versus national scores. 

Our Quality of Food score rose from 3.87 in 2021 to 3.94 in 2023, outshining the national average of 3.49. Additionally, our Dining Services score climbed from 3.99 in 2021 to 4.12 in 2023, exceeding the national average of 3.79.

This achievement speaks volume of our commitment, particularly this year as five of our communities stood out across all three categories:

  • Valley View Village Assisted Living
  • Newton Village Assisted Living
  • Newton Village Independent Living
  • Milaca Elim Meadows
  • Elim Shores Independent Living

In fact, 20 of our communities scored above the national average in Quality of Food, 21 of our communities surpassed the national average in Dining Services and 12 of our communities exceeded the national average in Menu Variety.

What’s our secret ingredient? Sheri Ruehle, regional director of nutrition and culinary, believes it’s crucial to invest in our cooks and their education. That’s why Cassia established the Cassia Culinary Academy, which aims to enhance the skills of our culinary team.

Sheri says Cassia has also prioritized recruiting chefs with formal training in the culinary arts. These chefs come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures and significantly enrich our culinary identity.

Moreover, sharing menus, recipes, and dining trends across our network plays a vital role in cultivating our culinary culture. Partnering with organizations like US Foods has been instrumental. By engaging in Scoop demonstrations and Culinary Clinics, we introduce our team to the latest culinary trends and innovations. This fosters inspiration and ensures our menus remain diverse and engaging.

Finally, one of the most critical parts to our approach is engaging with our residents.

Every month, we carefully evaluate and address feedback from Pinnacle Quality Insight. We respond to both positive comments and areas of concern related to our culinary services. Additionally, through “Chef Table” and “Culinary Conversations,” we turn resident feedback into improvements. Whether addressing market trends or integrating residents’ suggestions, our teams are devoted to refining our culinary offerings.

Cassia’s success lies in our strategic focus on elevating the quality of food and dining experience for our residents. Our method of improving our culinary offerings is always evolving.

We are exploring new technologies to expand our menus and improve our services, staying ahead in culinary innovation. We want to create dining experiences that are fun and memorable, blending new trends with comforting flavors of home.

“We are looking at new technologies in cooking equipment that will help expand our menus as well as point of sales software to ease ordering and menu development,” Sheri says.

“We want to continue to build menus that stand out with on-trend and innovative food products while still embracing the comfort foods that so many love. We want to keep developing our culinary teams, feeding their passion for cooking, so that our residents keep talking about our food and looking forward to their next meal.”

Looking to the future, our dedication remains steadfast in enriching our culinary offerings, ensuring dining experiences at Cassia are memorable.