Innovations and trends in senior living dining are finally beginning to make their way into mainstream media, as indicated in a New York Times article this week. And many providers are doing their parts to promote their dining offerings from the restaurant experience to celebrity chefs and made-to-order global cuisine.
Brookdale Senior Living, having recently become the largest senior living provider in the country, is also going national with its dining programming.
The company’s Culinary Arts Institute Roadshow travels throughout the nation’s biggest metros, stopping once a month to present the latest in Brookdale fare and service standards. Topics range from comfort foods to discovery of new flavors, healthy dining for seniors and food service sanitation. Collectively, Brookdale chefs prepare about 97 million meals per year for company residents and guests.
Cooking for senior palates requires special expertise, says Joska Hajdu, Brookdale’s senior vice president of dining services, in a written statement.
“That’s because senior taste buds and palates change with age, so the flavors have to be bolder and richer and the texture of foods need to be more senior friendly as well,” Hajdu says.
The tour also serves as a tool to educate Brookdale staff throughout the nation’s largest senior living provider about its dining program.
“The challenge is that we’re getting so large that sometimes it’s difficult to get the message out of what we’re trying to do in dining services,” Matthew Janiec, corporate chef of dining services for Brookdale, tells SHN.
Earlier this month, Brookdale and HCP, Inc. closed on a $1.2 billion joint venture to own and operate continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). And, the company’s previous $2.8 billion merger deal with Emeritus Senior Living Corp. positioned Brookdale to be the largest senior living provider in the nation.
Brookdale staff, including leadership teams and dining employees, as well as residents and prospective residents are invited to attend the one-day cooking events. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the cooking demos with chefs and are able to sample the meals created that day.
“[The tour] is a great way to showcase what sets us apart from everybody else — including our made from scratch recipes, our signature sauces, our service standards and what our expectations are as a company when providing dining services to residents,” Janiec says. “We use it has a vehicle to get the message out.”
The tour’s next stop is in Tacoma, Wash. on Sept. 11, with the following show planned for Tampa, Fla.
Written by Cassandra Dowell