For more than two decades, Armando Soriano has served delicious cuisine and ensured an exceptional dining experience for residents of Atria Park of Pacific Palisades.

Now, those same residents can also boast their meals are prepared by an award-winning chef.

His dedication and skill recently earned him the 2023 Southern California Excellence in Service award, a prestigious honor from the California Assisted Living Association.

“It makes me happy,” Armando says, in an understated fashion. “I love our residents. I love cooking for them and talking to them. It’s hard to express how much this means.”

Armando’s contributions to his community extend beyond the kitchen. He consistently goes above his duties, whether it’s washing dishes, setting up special events or staying late to help after meal service. He possesses a passion for service.

“What sets Armando apart is his exceptional work ethic,” says Kirk Brooks, National Operations Specialist. “From dawn till dusk, he devotes himself to making the community better and residents happy. He’s the rock of Atria Park of Pacific Palisades.”

While his cuisine receives rave reviews, with fish and pasta dishes being his specialties, the meals Armando prepares are savored even more because of the connection shared with residents.

He knows the names, preferences and stories of each resident. This personal touch helps him create dining experiences that bring joy and comfort to their lives.

“It’s an exceptional ability the way he connects with people,” Kirk says. “He makes everyone feel like family. It’s effortless. It’s special.”

Last year, Armando faced health challenges doctors warned could prevent him from working for an extended period. Despite this, he was so determined to return to the community and the residents he cares about that he returned to the kitchen in just two months.

“I missed everyone. I missed my coworkers. I needed to be back here,” he says of his remarkable recovery.

Outside of work, Armando is a baseball fanatic and a diehard Angels fan. He played the sport for years and has coached Little League as well.

Luckily for the residents of Atria Park of Pacific Palisades, his professional path led him into the kitchen – rather than a baseball diamond – where he excels at nourishing others in body and spirit.