Dinner was a special occasion at United Active Living’s two communities to not only celebrate Father’s Day but also mark the resumption of dinner service – the first time dinner has been formally served in the dining rooms since early March when COVID limited dining room and bistro services.
“I am very excited to have the meal service back at Garrison Green,” said chef Mark Henri, who started with United just a few days before formal dining room service was stopped. “Residents are very pleased to be able to once again have dinner and lunch in the dining room, and breakfast in the bistro.”
For Father’s Day, Mark served steak, garlic shrimp, asparagus with roasted mushrooms and mashed potatoes. “This has become the traditional meal we serve on Father’s Day and it’s always a hit,” said Mark, whose philosophy is to serve fresh and nutritious meals with a strong, visual appeal. “I particularly depend on feedback from the residents and try to incorporate as much as possible into the menu. My style suits them in that I favour a home-grown style of cooking. For instance, tonight we’re having barbecue ribs, baked potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and broccoli. That’s comfort food, which everyone likes.”
When COVID hit, meal service had to be adjusted. Instead of residents being able to eat together through the day in the dining room and bistro, the kitchen provided meal delivery to their suites. While residents still had flexibility to eat what they wanted, when they wanted, meals were eaten away from their friends and family.
“Because this was new for everyone, we had to create new processes,” said Mark. “We quickly got into the rhythm of it, but getting back to serving in the dining room is a big plus for everyone.”
Special Father’s Day treats were handed out by employees to the residents of both communities. Over at Fish Creek residents were also treated to an unexpected 20-minute concert by the Salvation Army Brass Quintet, which entertained residents outside the building.
For dinner, Fish Creek chef Jayson Quimpo served a classic dish with a modern twist. “The residents were served a baked Salmon Wellington with orange beure blanc (white butter) sauce, bacon wrapped asparagus and Yukon Gold whipped potatoes. For dessert, a chocolate pot de crème with sugar cookies and macerated berries ,” said Jayson. “We wanted to do something special for them given that this was the first day back for dinner service in our dining room.”
As the pandemic progressed, Jayson’s team discovered that they could continue to give residents the same quality, variety and choice of meals they have come to expect at United.
“Our employees shared the excitement with the residents in seeing dinner service resuming,” he said. “Meals are a highlight of the day, but even with the new protocols in place with regard to social distancing, everyone was very happy. After dinner, I spoke with several residents who all remarked on how much they enjoyed their dinner. Being able to see their friends at dinner resulted in a great atmosphere. We’re not back to normal yet, but now we can look forward to planning special nights and be more creative when it comes to the plating and presentation of the meals.”
Jayson noted that during the pandemic, many residents were appreciative of the efforts the kitchen put into the difficult process of meal delivery. “Despite having to change our processes completely, we very much appreciated the support we received from the residents, and the team never stopped thinking about how to give residents a great dining experience.”
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The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once we are able to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help!
To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.
Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.