Food, Glorious Food!

After serving dinner to all its residents, the Spring Gardens food service crew provided a barbecue buffet to over 100 Huntsman Senior Games athletes.

After serving dinner to all its residents, the Spring Gardens food service crew provided a barbecue buffet to over 100 Huntsman Senior Games athletes.

If there’s one topic in the world that matters to every human being, it’s food. We all need it, we all like it, and we all seem to have strong opinions about what we do and don’t want to eat. This creates some interesting challenges for any cook, especially one who has more than 100 mouths to feed three times a day. The challenge becomes even greater when those mouths belong to seniors who have a wide range of dietary needs and health concerns, and whose appetite for greater choice continues to expand faster than the waistlines at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

So how does a senior living center meet the wide ranging demands of their residents? For many years, the traditional solution has been the cafeteria approach – warming the contents of large cans of bland food, providing enough variety that each individual can find a few tolerable tidbits once they finally get to the end of the long line that forms at regular intervals throughout the day. It’s the same method used by thousands of schools throughout the United States to feed hungry students as quickly and cheaply as possible before sending them back to class. But ask most kids how they feel about school lunch and you’ll probably get a negative response. Ask most seniors how they feel about cafeteria food, and you’re likely to get a similar reaction.

Spring Gardens Senior Living takes a different approach. They know that today’s seniors expect better food, more selection, personalized service and greater flexibility in their daily schedule. They want to eat when they are ready, not just when the food is, and they’d like to enjoy the experience, not just endure it. That’s why Spring Gardens introduced restaurant style, “anytime” dining to the senior living experience in southern Utah. Restaurant style dining means cooked-to-order meals served by a friendly staff of eager to please professionals. It means menus, daily specials, fresh soup & salad bar, and flexible dining hours from 7am to 7pm every day. It means gourmet recipes, healthy choices, and delicious desserts.

The key ingredient in Spring Gardens’ recipe for success has always been its people, and when it comes to senior food services, they have two of the best to head their staff. Shane Melville and Gayle Henderson-Haas handle their duties with enthusiasm, experience and expertise. Each member of their crew takes great pride in their work and enjoys interacting with the residents they serve each day. Hugs, laughter, kindness and caring attitudes abound everywhere at Spring Gardens, and the kitchen and dining areas are no exception.

When you take a photo of this crew, you don't have to tell them to smile!

When you take a photo of this crew, you don’t have to tell them to smile!

This positive, cheerful attitude was recently on display when the Spring Gardens kitchen crew served over 100 athletes from around the world who were in St. George for the Huntsman Senior Games. These visitors arrived at Spring Gardens soon after the residents had been served their evening meal. In spite of the extra hours and effort required by food service personnel to handle these additional responsibilities, the usual cheerful approach and caring attitudes were evident by all who were in attendance. Many visitors commented that the meal was the best they had eaten during their entire stay. These guests found out something that residents here have known all along – that a little love goes into every good meal, and at Spring Gardens, no matter how many people are served, that’s one thing they will never run out of.