Meet Our Team - Barbara Bardle
Meet Barbara Bardle, RD LD - Director of Menu Programs
Barbara Bardle was doing her typical rounds at a long-term care facility when she struck up a conversation with one of the residents. Barbara was a consulting dietitian in Illinois at the time, so she was very interested in hearing about the food service and anything she could do to improve their stay. However, an added perk was that she also got to know people and hear their fascinating stories — and this particular resident did not disappoint...
“I was talking to her about her food, and she starts sharing with me about how she was one of the last living survivors from the [RMS Carpathia] ship that rescued survivors from the Titanic,” Barbara said with a laugh. “She was only 12 when it happened, but even after all those years, she could still remember people coming onboard.”
Barbara added, “Those are great stories from fascinating people. It’s icing on the cake to meet people like that in this job.”
Though Barbara left her fieldwork behind nearly a decade ago to become the Director of Menu Programs at our corporate office, she has not lost her heart for people. If anything, her devotion to them is stronger than ever as she celebrates 43 years in the industry. She takes pride in providing the best meals and menu choices for residents and offering dietary guidance to the great women and men who run the dining services at our member facilities.
As the Director of Menu Programs, Barbara and her team are responsible for creating, updating, and implementing high-quality menus, menu components, and menu technology. This includes nutritional analysis, determining the best fit for each facility, adding new recipes based on resident feedback and industry trends, and overseeing everything from portion sizes and infection control practices to menu simplification, training and education, and onboarding new clients.
“I really do enjoy my job,” she said. “I have a great team, and I like empowering our customers with the tools they need to be successful with their dining operation. Not only do the residents deserve the best experience possible, but the people who work there have a tough job. I enjoy making things less stressful for them in any way I can.”
If you think the residents are the only ones who have fun backgrounds and stories, you’d be wrong. Barbara has always loved science and math, but believe it or not, she initially wanted to be an oceanographer. She even went to Florida State University and dove feet first into that career path before realizing it wasn’t for her.
After a couple of years of deciding what she wanted to do next, a friend suggested that she try dietetics. And she hasn’t looked back since. She got her Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Dietetics from the University of Missouri and kick-started her career in 1977 while working in the hospital setting. She came to Health Technologies in 1993 as a consulting dietitian and worked in the field until 2011.
“What eventually drew me to dietetics was that I got to help people,” she said. “Yes, there was the food science and the science of what happens to food in your body. But I knew I could really help people. I still feel that way now.”
When Barbara isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her family. She and her husband, Rick, are college sweethearts and just celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. Together, they have three grown children (two daughters and a son) and three grandchildren. They love hiking, fishing, puzzles, gardening, and, of course, cooking a good meal.
Email Barbara: BBardle@DiningRD.com