Memory Care Moments
1.833.MEM.CARE • 833.636.2273
CHEF RICHARD REFLECTS ON HIS CULINARY CAREER Good Food and Great Rewards
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M y career as a chef began all the way back in high school when I got a job washing dishes at a cute restaurant that had been converted from an old barn. The cooking staff took me under their wings and taught
to the menu. That’s just the nature of the food industry. A dish could be considered a culinary masterpiece by one person and a disgusting pile by another. We all have our own tastes! But in the Memory Care world, we also have to consider function. We have to create a variety of meals, including regular-style, easy-to-eat, and puréed dishes. We’re serving a population that grew up and thrived on meat and potatoes, and we owe it to them to serve meals they love and are comfortable with.
me the basics of cooking. That’s when I learned creating meals was just in my blood.
From there, I didn’t take any shortcuts to get to
where I am today. I went to school for formal training, and I worked my way up to running my own kitchen and even my own business for a period of time. When Linda Carrasco got in touch about a
Chef Richard with Westover Hills Executive Director, Tawana McDaniel
At the same time, I also want to create a menu that excites people. Food shouldn’t be
boring. It should evoke emotions and memories and comfort us as it nourishes us. When a family told me
possible job opportunity more than three years ago, I was ready to seize it. Linda and I had worked together in the past, but at the time of her call, I was managing my own business. It was fun, but it was exhausting work too, and I wanted to pursue something different. I joined the team at Memory Care of Westover Hills just over three years ago, and it’s become more rewarding each day. It was a lot of work to get our kitchen to where it is today, but I’m proud of the staff we have and the work they do. Our biggest priority is offering comfort and nutrition to those facing one of the toughest diagnoses you can be given, and when we make that happen, we’ve done our job. That’s what we all strive for in the kitchen — an opportunity to do something we’re proud of. Now, I’m not going to lie to you; cooking in this environment comes with its challenges. Just the other day, a family approached me and mentioned that their father doesn’t enjoy a particular style of food, and, I kid you not, a few hours later, another family asked me to add more of that style of food
their loved one wanted more pizza, I found spots on the menu to add it! This is their home, and they deserve the meals that make it feel like home. Regardless of how puzzling the menu can be or of the dietary restrictions of those we serve, this job is far and away about being a positive presence in someone’s day. One of the greatest compliments I received recently was when a woman at Memory Care of Westover Hills told me I was a nice guy. Compliments like that touch me and show that through something as simple as food, we get to
make a difference in their lives too. –Chef Richard Morgan
P.S. I love cooking, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the greatest job I’ve ever had: being a dad to seven kids and a grandpa to five grandkids. It’s a job that I will have the privilege of having for more than 40 years by the time my youngest graduates high school. They make me proud every day.
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