Ricardo (Ricky) Largacha, Executive Chef at Country Meadows of Allentown, knows a thing or two about working from the ground up.
Largacha has worked with Country Meadows since March 2016. Since then, he has worked his way up to being the Executive Chef for Allentown’s campus. Largacha started as a cook and has manned many different positions within the kitchen before this point. “I loved having different positions because I learned all of the different aspects of the kitchen, and every day was a new experience,” he said.
Even though Largacha loves to work in the kitchen, his favorite part of working at Country Meadows is the people there. “To come to work every day and hear from residents and co-workers, ‘Good Morning Ricky!’ or to hear from residents that the meal was delicious. You can feel the love,” he said. “Most importantly I love to hear that our residents are happy with their meals.”
Largacha dates the start of his culinary training back to when he was just six years old. “I used to watch a cooking show on TV, ‘Dia a dia con Maria Rosa’ in my country of Ecuador,” he said. “I used to spend a lot of time watching my mom cook in the kitchen. I used to cook with her. We used to cook for parties, weddings, Sweet Sixteens—we had created a little family business,” Largacha said. “I then worked for 10 years at Matheny Medical Education Center in Peapack, New Jersey, where I would cook for children with cerebral palsy,” he said. “Now, my culinary training continues here, at Country Meadows, where I learn something new every day.”
Being from Ecuador, Largacha enjoys sharing his heritage with his residents. “I am in charge of our monthly cooking demos, and I always try to cook Latino dishes for them so they can experience the Latino culinary culture,” he said. “I have included some Latino dishes for some residents in the specials of the week menu, and they have liked them. My goal of making a difference and honoring my Latino heritage has been successful.”
Country Meadows hasn’t just helped Largacha in the kitchen, it has also helped him become a better person. “I consider myself a respectful person; however, Country Meadows has taught me to bring my respect to another level. My experience has taught me to respect life, which involves respect for others, different preferences, lifestyles, values, and even to respect myself more,” he said. “Country Meadows has made me a better person.”