When I began my career as a chef, I never imagined I would eventually fill the position of Culinary Services Director at two senior living communities in Santa Rosa. Over the years, I worked alongside renowned chefs Wolfgang Puck and Nancy Oakes; cooked for political dignitaries in Washington, D.C. at the Morrison-Clark Historic Inn & Restaurant; worked as a sous chef at the legendary Chez Nous in San Francisco; and then, became an executive chef first at Belden Taverna before taking a position at the historic Presidio Golf Club, also in San Francisco.
It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I took a leap of faith from the restaurant world of fine dining to find a new happy home in luxury retirement living. So, here I am: Culinary Services Director for Varenna and Fountaingrove Lodge, which are two Oakmont Senior Living communities in Santa Rosa. What changed? One reason: I came to realize that these facilities are of the same caliber as the fine establishments on my résumé. From the living accommodations to the lush grounds, and from the concierge services to the indoor and outdoor dining spaces, Oakmont Senior Living has created an opulent world where the culinary journey is just one aspect of the experience.
But like many people, I realize that words like “gourmet,” “delectable” and “tantalizing” are not traditionally associated with the meal options offered at senior living facilities. By and large, senior facilities have gravely underserved their guests when it comes to food quality. That’s why, from day one, I was excited to be a part of Oakmont Senior Living’s quest to change that. That was two years ago; since then, we have assembled a team of highly skilled restaurant chefs [...]