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Chef Workshop Provides New Opportunity to Learn

Chef Workshop Provides New Opportunity to Learn

Cream of asparagus soup was one of the dishes served during this knowledge exchange.

Michael Hastings | Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.

A few chefs got together recently to swap ideas and learn new recipes, and about 100 people got to dine on the results.

Most chefs work in isolation. Sure, they have cooks who work with them. But because they work long hours, they don’t have many chances to hang out and learn from fellow chefs.

That’s why a group of nine chefs who work for Holiday Retirement had such a good time on June 25 during a workshop at Creekside Terrace, an independent-living community that Holiday runs on Old Vineyard Road.

Creekside Terrace has about 100 apartments. The rent includes a meal plan. Executive chef Steve Mitchell and his staff feed those folks each day, partly from a set menu for all Holiday properties, and partly from what Mitchell thinks his customers want to eat.

“We always have part of the menu we can do on our own, because people in different parts of the country don’t always eat the same things,” Mitchell said.

Holiday, based in Salem, Ore., has more than 300 retirement properties in the United States and Canada. Creekside Terrace is one of several properties in North Carolina, including ones in Burlington and High Point and one set to open in Greensboro.

John Di Salvo and his wife, Lore, are chefs who are in charge of food at Holiday properties in the eastern United States. “We’re co-divisional chefs,” John Di Salvo said. “She does the Northeast, and I do the Southeast.”

But they get to work together some of the time – such as when they hold a regional workshop for their chefs.

“We try to get people together quarterly. It’s a chance for chefs to get out of their own buildings, to get together with their colleagues,” said John Di Salvo, who is based in Wilmington.

This particular workshop focused on new ideas for soups and sandwiches. It was inspired by another workshop, at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Each year, Holiday sends several chefs to the school for a program. Then those chefs spread what they have learned to chefs throughout the company.

The Di Salvos and regional chef Billy Angel, who oversees 13 kitchens in North Carolina and Virginia, attended the school in April. They led the workshop at Creekside, passing along what they learned to Mitchell and the other chefs.