Cheri Ludwiczak, Chef at Michael’s Cafe
Cheri was born and raised in South Deerfield. Her grandparents had a farm there where they grew “everything: corn, tobacco, potatoes, as well as pigs and chickens.” She traces her interest in culinary arts to her experiences watching her grandmother make traditional Polish foods. “We’d go there for Sunday supper every week,” she said, “and our whole family would sit around the table, enjoying her golumpkis, pierogis, pot roast and more while she sat back and watched us all eat, enjoying her food.”
Currently Cheri lives with her husband Edward in Springfield, along with their 2 cats, Boba Fett (of Star Wars fame) and Montgomery. She received her BS in Environmental Science at Southern Vermont College in Bennington and later went to Holyoke Community College’s culinary school where she obtained a degree in Food Service Management.
Cheri was hired as chef for Michael’s Café when it opened in 2016. She has been working there until just a few months ago, when, because of the Covid-19 virus, Michael’s was closed. Since then she has been cooking meals for the 140 or so JNH employees on all 3 shifts, from her kitchen in Michael’s café, equipped with 2 burners and 1 stove.
Cheri is known for her exquisite cooking including of course her delicious soups, all made with homemade broth. Among some of the favorites enjoyed by Michael’s Café customers are her beef stew, corn chowder, and roasted cauliflower soups. Sheila Hayes, staffing coordinator at JNH commented, “Anyone can throw food together but Cheri puts her heart into it and it shows. All the little touches she does, even if it’s a simple sandwich, she puts a little extra love in it. I just want her to know how much we appreciate it.”
“I love working here at JGS,” Cheri said, “everyone is super nice, and I enjoy interacting with the community. It’s a challenge now cooking for the employees, as I have to think about more quantity and fitting any food I prepare into containers, for grab and go. The staff work so hard here, if I can nourish their bodies, to help them keep taking great care of the residents, it gives me real joy. “
Thank you Cheri for the thoughtfulness and care you put into all of the meals you prepare. Your culinary talents and your commitment to our staff are greatly appreciated!