David Fulciniti has been named Executive Chef for The Ridge, a residential drug and alcohol treatment center located in Batavia, Ohio. Because treatment centers are usually are so focused on the clinical side of care they don’t emphasize the benefits the patients receive from the dining experience. Socialization and proper nutrition can play an important role during the recovery process.
The Ridge keeps their census small to provide highly individualized treatment from a wide range of professionals. In a non institutionalized setting, Fulciniti’s and his team plate close to 20 homemade meals a week and takes into account patient’s preferences to meet specific needs, likes or dislikes.
“Often times, substance abusers suffer from poor nutrition so we give our patients a meal that is not only healthy but also something they will enjoy,” Fulciniti explains. Fresh fish and meat is purchased several times a week and great consideration is taken in food preparation for a whole foods approach, with only the freshest ingredients used and the lack of processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are offered daily, starches are in moderation and The Ridge adheres to a strictly policy of never serving frozen food.
Recognizing that that there is a whole body approach to treatment includes exercise, spiritual activities and nutrition. “Chef David Fulciniti brings a solid background of culinary excellence to The Ridge,” states Chief Medical Officer of The Ridge, Dr. Jeffrey Stuckert. “He and his team provide high nutritional standards often at time when patients are starved of nourishment.” Meals also tend to be a good time for socialization and getting to know the staff and other patients. He further adds, “Chef David likes to interact with patients either by sharing a few culinary tips or informing them about something new they might not have experienced before.”
While The Ridge strongly supports the 12 Step approach, they understand that addiction affects family which is why family participation is encouraged whether if is for educational sessions or visits. Each Saturday there is a family celebration, where families of The Ridge’s patients join their loved one to relax, bond, engage in games, enjoy the natural beauty of the estate or catch up. It is also a time when special occasions such as birthdays are celebrated, either at The Ridge or offsite, and all in attendance can share in the celebration.
At the end of The Ridge’s treatment program patients have a deep understanding of the disease, are given the proper tools to maintain recovery and are given the resources that help sustain lifelong sobriety. Chef David Fulciniti celebrates the success and lets the departing patient pick their own “send off supper.” At the end of the 28-day stay, the patients choose the entire menu while everyone joins in the congratulations and pledges eternal support. Past send off suppers have featured filet mignon and crab legs with a couple versions of potatoes, steamed veggies and fresh apple strudel.
Fulciniti has previously worked as a chef at the Ritz Carlton and with famed restaurateur, Jeff Ruby.