NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- For four chefs at Waveny LifeCare Network in New Canaan, going against the norm has never tasted so good.
Led by culinary school-trained, female chefs, an uncommon occurrence in the male-dominated dining services industry, the senior community's food service team provides restaurant-quality meals to residents and guests alike.
"It's rare that there are one or two women on a dining service team, so it's great that we have four outstanding female chefs," said Anthony Pacchioni, director of dining services at Waveny, through Morrison Community Living. "They are very tough, driven and had exactly what we were looking for when we were recruiting new chefs."
The four chefs, Terri Salmons, Jennifer Pond, Alicia Grant and Sashawna Dacosta, each arrived at Waveny with a different background and experiences that allow them to add their own tasty touches each and every day.
"If the residents aren’t having fun while eating a meal, then we need to fix that and make sure we make something that they love," said Salmons, chef manager at The Inn, Waveny's Independent Living Community. "I always invite them for suggestions or recipes so we can give a personalized experience. We enhance the fact that this is their home."
The dining team provides restaurant-style dining in each of Waveny's residences, as well as to all participants in Waveny's Adult Day Program. In addition to their daily assortment of entrées and sides, residents and short-term rehab patients can enjoy a variety of "always available" choices at any meal.
"I love the looks on the residents' faces when they enjoy a good meal, it’s an awesome feeling," said Grant. "It means a lot to me that food brings out enthusiasm in people."
According to Pacchioni, success starts with the four chefs, as they constantly push each other to innovate and create new meals for Waveny's residents. While collaboration is a key component in any kitchen, these four chefs were new to working in an environment as unique as Waveny's when they first came on board.
"I have been in the restaurant business for 20 years and I have never worked with as many women as I am right now," said Pond. "My last job had only two other women working alongside 40 other men. Women are coming up in the culinary industry, but we're still not quite there."
With hardworking chefs and food that always seems too good to pass up, Waveny's dining service team is constantly tweaking its recipe for success. "We directly impact our residents' quality of life, so we want to make each meal taste home cooked and as delicious as possible," said Dacosta.
To find out more about Waveny's dining service team, click here.