Things are heating up for the summer and also heating up in The Heathe's kitchen where a delicious meal is always a dash (of spice) away. This month, we get to step into the kitchen with Steven Weddig and grill him a little bit about what it’s like to be The Heathers’ Culinary Manager. Read on below to see what’s cookin’!
Q: How did you become interested in cooking? What does it mean to you personally to be a chef?
A: I grew up working in our family's restaurant's and watching/reading Alton Brown, Anthony Bourdain, and other chefs and "foodies". Food is such a great way to connect with people and it really brings everyone together.
Q: How does having a balanced variety of meals help seniors live a fulfilling life?
A: As your body ages and your metabolism slows down you begin to need fewer and fewer calories, but you still need to concentrate on getting the appropriate amount of nutrients to support your lifestyle. Some seniors continue to live active lifestyles, and others settle down into more sedentary patterns. Having a properly balanced diet helps seniors support these lifestyle changes.
Q: What is your personal favorite meal to cook for the Residents at The Heathers?
A: I really like to make lasagna, it's an easy dish to work in a ton of vegetables and it's so satisfying to see the cheesy stretch when you pull out that first piece.
Q: How do you decide which meals to make for Residents?
A: Myself, the Care Partners, and the rest of the staff constantly talk to the Residents throughout all of the meals during the day; we want to find out if they are enjoying things or, most importantly, what they are not enjoying. We like to get lots of feedback to put meals and food on the menu that they are familiar with, yet still pack all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Additionally, we talk with the residents and their families prior to move-in, and we are always open to new suggestions. So if, say, someone remembers their mother making a certain dish for a special holiday when they were younger; that then becomes a great way for us to expand the menu and incorporate their childhood favorites.
Q: What is your favorite memory of cooking together with the Residents and Care Partners?
A: For Polish Constitution Day we made stuffed cabbage rolls the traditional Polish way. Lots of our Residents grew up in households eating more traditional European food like cabbage rolls, that their parents and grandparents would have made based on their country of origin. One resident talked to us about how her mother used to make cabbage rolls all the time for her growing up. Other residents who normally aren't big eaters were having second helpings and cleaning their plates. It was very fun to make a more traditional recipe like this and see their reactions.
We’d like to thank Steven for taking some time away from cooking up a storm to chat with us. Not to butter him up, but we are very grateful to have such a passionate and talented chef at The Heathers. We can’t wait to see what he whips up next.