Candace Hall-Murdock grew up seeing people get excited about food. Her mother used to have a café in Minneapolis. When Candace helped on weekends, she noticed how sitting down to share a meal brought people together. Then, when Candace’s grandpa needed more care, her mom sold the café and started a catering business from their home. Candace loved the beautiful displays, and this was how she learned food can bring people joy.
Now, after almost 30 years of cooking, Candace still believes in the power of food. Before coming to Walker Methodist Care Suites as director of culinary services, she earned her degree in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. Candace worked at The Emily Program, Ebenezer Senior Living, and Ameriprise Financial before finding her home at Walker Methodist.
“I’ve always loved seeing someone smile because of a meal,” Candace said. “And for seniors, a meal can truly be one of the highlights of their day.”
Under Candace’s leadership, the culinary program at Care Suites has grown. The whole kitchen has been remodeled, and she was instrumental in implementing the made-to-order menu model that’s now a favorite at Walker Methodist communities.
Her motivation comes from her passion for people. “I do what I do because I believe people, especially seniors, can teach us so much,” said Candace. “And I couldn’t ask for a better team. I love when somebody’s happy about something we’ve done or a meal we’ve made.” Candace often stops to talk to residents in the dining room and hallways, listening to their stories and showing them she cares.
When she’s not cooking, working on schedules, creating menus, and leading her team, Candace donates her time to invest in even more people. Every Thursday, Candace leads a class for students from Minnesota Independence College & Community (MICC). For three years, MICC, a program for young adults with learning differences and autism, has brought students to Care Suites to learn life skills. “We learn cooking and knife skills. We make and break down recipes,” Candace said of the five groups she’s mentored. “Even when I’m teaching, I learn from them.”
Currently, Candace is continuing her education by working toward a certified dietary manager degree, sponsored by Walker Methodist’s scholarship program. Her career and volunteer work can be summarized in her personal life philosophy: “Treat people how you’d want the person you love most to be treated, and you’ll never go wrong.”