Meet our new Food Service Director



Evanston-based Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois (MOW NEI), the premier provider of senior, homebound and disabled nourishment and support services, named Sam Landman its inaugural food service director. Landman will lead the introduction of an expanded recipe and flavor-profile menu as part of an operational overhaul that includes an organization-operated food service operation.

“Sam’s background with Meals on Wheels in Colorado punctuated his broader food service management experience,” says Executive Director Debi Genthe. “He demonstrated culinary skills that embrace a wonderful control of flavors and ideas. Importantly, his plates tasted great both on immediate service and through the hold time of our delivery process. We can’t wait to get him started building our menus.”

Landman, who learned cooking at the side of a master chef from Johnson and Wales University culinary school, comes to MOW NEI with more than a decade of experience in the senior healthcare field. He has been involved in everything food service related from menu engineering and cooking to budget and inventory control. He most recently led food service efforts at Bridgeway Senior Living in Bensenville, Ill., was chef at Park Plaza Retirement Center in Chicago, and executive kosher chef for Aramark at the University of Chicago.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity to create the Meals on Wheels menu,” Landman says. “Creating home-cooked, comfort-food meals and bringing new flavors to those with dietary specifications is one thing, but I fully appreciate this role of providing nourishment for those who can’t provide for themselves. It is a stress off of their minds.”

Landman, also 2002 graduate in pre-med from Metropolitan State College of Denver, earned an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army Reserves to care for family.

MOW NEI is raising funds for a new, stand-alone food service operation that it operates itself. Once the new operation is running, planned for early 2020, MOW NEI expects to serve 100,000 meals each year, up from 52,000 currently served.

MOW NEI will accomplish this with Landman’s broader menu range, localized sourcing, cutting-edge focus on nutrition, and an expanded staff which will include a dietitian. Six days a week MOW NEI’s powerhouse movement of volunteers will bring engagement and a sense of community to clients, the neighbors they care for. By the end of 2020, MOW NEI expects to run 56 routes each day compared to the 14 routes today.

About Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois

Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois is based in Evanston, Ill., and was organized as Meals at Home. The first deliveries were made in October 1968 to residents of Evanston and nearby Chicago. The organization’s deliveries eventually expanded north to the Wisconsin border and includes Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Kenilworth, North Chicago, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie, Waukegan, Wilmette, Winnetka, Winthrop Harbor and Zion. In 2002, a Friendly Visit program was added, and in 2012 a grocery shopping program in which Meals at Home volunteers purchase items such as paper products, breakfast foods, and similar items for clients.