Chef Rosetta, head chef at the Ranch of Frederick and Employee of the Year. Photo courtesy Larry Pearson.

More than Food: How The Ranch Helps Men with Substance Abuse

Chef Rosetta, a gourmet chef and the head chef at the Ranch in Frederick was recently named the employee of the year. 

The Ranch was originally founded by the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association to provide assistance and a home for at risk, troubled and homeless boys in Maryland in 1974. For 41 years, the Ranch provided group home living to these youth who were referred by the Department of Social Services and the Department of Juvenile Services. 

 In 2015, the Ranch decided to change their focus to serve men with substance abuse issues. Substance abuse is at a critical, all-time high in Maryland and throughout the country. One of the main needs of this facility, whether it has been young boys or adult males is to provide balanced and nutritious meals on a day-to-day basis. This is a task in itself, but it became tremendously harder during this pandemic. Chef Rosetta has risen to the occasion and made it happen from day one.

When asked about how she managed to do it, she simply gave the credit to everyone beside herself. “While working at The Ranch during this pandemic, it has been very challenging. Providing nutritious meals three times a day it became more of a delivery food service; not knowing when will this pandemic will end, having limited food deliveries from vendors, and not being able to go to the different stores. I couldn’t have made it happen without the wonderful staff at the Ranch, the support of my superiors, and the gracious vendors who have been a blessing to us all.” 

Chef Rosetta had to make sure that she had enough supplies on hand to feed everyone, a variety of food for those with certain food allergies, and alternatives for individuals on special diets. Simply providing utensils and napkins has been a challenge in itself.   

“Dealing with staff shortages due to COVID-19, working 12 hours days, wearing masks, and not having too many people entering the dining facility at once has all been a challenge. Trying to ensure everyone’s safety is our number one concern. Complaints came from everywhere, but you do what can.” 

It’s never going to be possible to please everyone, but she does the best that she can with what she has been dealt with. Chef Rosetta regularly sanitizes the whole dining facility every day and uses the fog machine regularly to ensure the safety of the area in which these meals are prepared and consumed. 

“I wondered if or when things will return back to normal. Each week I never know if they would close the facility down.” It’s become mandatory for the clients to get tested every month. She hears complaints from the residents about it, but she understands the importance of it. 

She said, “The Ranch receives new intakes every day, so there is always a risk factor. Quarantine is no joke. I have to know who is well and who isn’t, it is frightening. I can only go to work, possibly stop at a grocery store and home. I cannot let my guard down. I have a family as well, and I don’t want to jeopardize their health.” 

This is a risk that she is willing to take though because she is passionate about her job, she loves helping others, and she enjoys watching them turn their lives around and become productive citizens in society. To her, this is way more than food: it’s a way of life. Chef Rosetta is a humble servant of this community and blessing to those she serves.

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