The Arbors Chef Dennis Clark Is in It for the Food

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Dennis Clark believes the residents of The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Communities live there because of the food.

Of course, Dennis is the regional food service director for The Arbors and may hold a biased opinion.

“Food throughout all The Arbors, I feel, is the most important thing to the residents. They can tell you every single day whether they like it. They look forward to it every day,” he says.

Locally Grown Produce at The Arbors Assisted Living

Dennis says the food service staff at The Arbors tries to live up to the residents’ expectations. One of those expectations is using locally grown produce.

Locally grown food is fresher, has more flavor and nutrients, and benefits the local economy.

“Certain communities really enjoy having local produce brought in,” he remarks, citing The Arbors at Amherst as one that is exceptionally gung-ho. “We try to use local farmers if possible. Residents appreciate having those local farmers supported.”

He adds that The Arbors just rolled out their summer menu, which is sure to feature plenty of healthy comfort foods with locally grown produce.

Are the Menus the Same at All Arbors Communities?

As regional food service director, Dennis no longer prepares meals on a daily basis. He develops menus, inspects and oversees the kitchens, ensures food safety, and promotes using products from local farmers.

Although all of The Arbors communities use the same menu, the food preparation varies according to the residents’ preferences.

“We all work off the same menu. Each building has their own food service director. Satisfying resident preferences puts a unique twist on each dish. The staff try to keep the meals exciting,” he remarks.

“We try to gear our Sunday menus to what you’d typically find at your grandma’s house for Sunday dinner. Our everyday menu is focused on preparing heart-healthy comfort foods. Once a month, we offer a fine dining experience featuring lobster tails or steak or something similar,” he says.

When asked which entrees are most in demand, Dennis lists “beef stew the residents rave about.”

Here is the recipe:

Beef Vegetable Stew

Ingredients:

2 pounds cubed beef stew meat

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large Vidalia onion roughly chopped

6oz can of tomato paste

28oz low sodium beef broth

1 ½ cup chopped carrots

1 ½ cup chopped celery

4 cubed Yukon gold potatoes

1 cup frozen peas

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add beef and brown on all sides, about 10-12 minutes. Remove beef from pot and set aside.
  2. Combine celery, onion, and potatoes. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté for 10 minutes.
  3. Add flour and cook for 5-7 minutes, add beef broth, tomato paste, rosemary, bay leaf, and thyme.
  4. Return beef to pot and simmer for 1.5 hours.
  5. Remove bay leaf and rosemary.
  6. Add peas and simmer for another 5 minutes.

“Before coming to The Arbors in 2011, I worked for the Waterford Hotel Group for 16 years at the Sheraton Bradley Hotel and the Hartford Hilton. I have a degree in hospitality management from HCC and continued on to Westfield State for my business management degree. For me, the main highlight of working for The Arbors is making someone’s day better through the art of fine food. It’s also very refreshing to work for a close-knit family business after so many years in a larger corporate environment.”  -Dennis Clark

Although we respect Dennis’s belief that people flock to The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Communities because of the food, we offer much more to residents and their families. We promote an active, engaging lifestyle with programs that enhance seniors’ well-being.

 

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