The Big Idea 2013: Resident Chef for A Day

Retirement community invites residents into the kitchen.

Published in FSD Update

As a team we decided we wanted a way to pull our residents into dining, to show them what really happens in the kitchen. We wanted them to become part of the process more and to see exactly what goes into putting out each meal. So we started a resident chef program, where we invite residents into the kitchen to help prepare a meal for their fellow residents.

Aleisha Moore
Manager, The Grill
Normandy Farms Estates
Blue Bell, Pa.

As a team we decided we wanted a way to pull our residents into dining, to show them what really happens in the kitchen. We wanted them to become part of the process more and to see exactly what goes into putting out each meal. So we started a resident chef program, where we invite residents into the kitchen to help prepare a meal for their fellow residents.

This is the fourth month in a row that we’ve done this. We started the program last year but then it got put on hold because we were doing a kitchen renovation. We do it in The Grill, which I am in charge of. (We also have a formal dining room.) We have one to three residents participate in each event.

We announce the event and invite residents to sign up. We really didn’t advertise it very much, just word of mouth, and so we didn’t get a lot of sign-ups. But as we’ve gone on it has become more popular and we are getting more people signing up. We’re also getting requests from people who [have already participated in the program and been] resident chefs, asking if they can do it again.

We invite the residents to bring their own recipes, something they grew up with or that represents a comfort food for them.

Joe Bova, who was our second resident chef, wanted to do his family recipe for tomato gravy, and we added meatballs to it. Another resident on that same night did her bruschetta and crostini, so we kept with an Italian theme. We’ve also had a shrimp molé, a stuffed pork loin with fennel and caramelized onions, and our latest creation was a chicken salad à la mode, which looked almost like a dessert. It was a chicken salad in a piecrust, topped with yogurt and brandied cherries.

The residents have a lot of fun with it, and at the same time they learn how much effort it takes and how many people are involved with putting out their meals. They also comment about how clean everything is, how the staff clean as they go and that all the sanitation procedures are followed. The
residents dining also enjoy it. They like to see their friends behind the line, and most of the recipes have gone over really well—especially the tomato gravy.  

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources