Meet The Plymouth House Staff
Executive Chef Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards, lovingly referred to as Geno by Plymouth House staff and guests alike, first began his journey with the New Hampshire treatment center as a program participant.

“I was introduced to the Plymouth House in 2011 as a guest,” he says. “I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict. I went through the entire program and I knew that sticking with it was the best thing for my recovery at the time. I didn’t make any significant changes, however, and I actually ended up coming back in 2013. I stayed engaged with the program for 6 months, and I really immersed myself in my recovery during that time. I was the first man to go into the Glenwood House, the extended care house that we run in Portland, Maine. Altogether I was under the care of the Plymouth House for 18 months.”

While Geno initially expressed interest in working on the culinary side of things, he was eager to help in any way that he could. “At around 20 months sober I expressed some interest in working in the kitchen,” Geno explains. “I was eventually offered a position, and I began working as a male 12 Step Contact. This was at the end of 2015. I stayed in the 12 Step role until about August of 2021. The Executive Chef who had been with Plymouth House for 10 or 15 years took on another job somewhere else, and they offered me the position I’m in now; the Executive Chef role.”

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A Day in the Life of an Executive Chef

“On any given day we are serving around 60 guests and 30 staff members breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” Geno says. “I have been cooking on and off my whole life. I draw a lot of inspiration from the old Executive Chef, and we change the menu regularly. We get the input of all of the guys in the kitchen, and prepare food based on what is in season and what we have access to. We work with some local suppliers, like Upper Valley Produce, out of Vermont. I also work closely with the nutritionist; I always run the menu by her. We also cater to dietary restrictions. We want to make sure that everyone is consistently happy with their meals.”

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An Extensive Culinary Background

“I got sober at 32 and I had been cooking since 18,” Geno says. “When I was 25 I saw a commercial for culinary school. I was looking for all of these external things to fix my alcohol and drug addiction. I called the culinary school and they said, ‘Yeah, come on down,’ so I went. Of course, because I was deep in my addiction at the time, I never finished; I never graduated. Between the ages of 18 and 32 I bounced around a lot, moving from kitchen to kitchen. I worked for a lot of really wonderful people and picked up a lot of great skills and learned a lot of great recipes. I love being in recovery, and I love helping people who are in recovery. Once I got comfortable working at the Plymouth House I was able to transition back into the position I really wanted and have always loved.”

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Geno expresses gratitude for the opportunity to work for the treatment center that helped him get sober nearly a decade ago. “The Plymouth House really saved my life,” he says. “Working as the Executive Chef for the Plymouth House happened by accident, not necessarily by choice, but I am truly happier than ever. I just celebrated 9 years of recovery. One of the most redeeming parts of the job is working alongside those who are engaged in the Monitor Program. They’ll come help us in the kitchen, help us prep and clean up. It’s great speaking with other people who are currently where I once was. Getting positive feedback from the guests and staff members is also incredibly rewarding.”

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Tee-Time & Me Time

When he isn’t concocting drool-worthy dishes in the kitchen, Geno enjoys golfing and spending time with loved ones. “I just started golfing after a 28 year hiatus,” he says. “I ended up playing in a memorial tournament for a guest who had passed. I golf all the time now, and my wife picked it up so we golf together all of the time. I spend a lot of time with my family, I have a really big Italian family. I still enjoy helping other men in recovery. I’m really thankful to the Plymouth House for helping me get sober. The people here are truly miracle workers.”

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