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

Industry News & Opinion

The School District of Philadelphia and Baltimore City Public Schools are the latest districts in the Urban School Food Alliance to switch to compostable plates.

The move to the eco-friendlier products will save 19 million polystyrene products from landfills, according to a news release .

Schools often use polystyrene products due to their low cost. Polystyrene trays cost on average around 4 cents apiece, while compostable plates cost an average of 12 cents each. The Urban School Food Alliance’s collective buying power enabled them to create a compostable plate that costs...

Managing Your Business
allergies

Guy Procopio got a taste of the future when Michigan State University hosted a Boy Scout event in 2015. Out of 10,000 participants at the East Lansing, Mich., campus, Procopio, the director of dining services, received 1,400 requests to meet special dietary needs, including a wide spectrum of allergies, gluten intolerance or insensitivity, and other new or unusual hyper-specialized diets.

This dining trend isn’t letting up, at least in America: Food allergies in children increased approximately 50% from 1997 to 2011. They now affect one in 13 children in the United States,...

Industry News & Opinion

Students of Broward County Public Schools in Florida were treated to a special meal by celebrity chef Aria Kagan during lunch last week.

The chef and former contestant on “The Next Food Network Star” prepared her farm-fresh pesto panini in front of students at McNicol Middle School in Hollywood, Fla.

Her visit was part of the district’s Chefs Move to Broward initiative, through which a chef from nonprofit Wellness in the Schools visits district cafeterias each month to prepare a healthy meal. The chef then teaches cafeteria staff how to make the dish so it can be...

Managing Your Business
woman alone in kitchen

In a post-Harvey Weinstein world, there’s an awful anticipation over which star’s worst-kept secret will be outed next. The outpouring of claims of sexual harassment and abuse helped popularize the #MeToo social media campaign, encouraging women to share their stories and spurring allegations against upwards of 60 high-profile men. In October, the movement’s momentum hit the foodservice industry. Since, behemoths such as Mario Batali, John Besh and Todd English were forced to confront accusations of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct.

For many women, the scope of the industry’...

FSD Resources