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Cuisine quality is important at Chambrel
by Joan Durbin
September 12, 2012 06:46 PM | 3068 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When it comes to choosing a senior living community, the quality of food offered often can be as big a selling point as the roster of activities.

Chambrel at Roswell has mastered that amenity. Its full-service dining room operates much like a nice restaurant, allowing residents to order from a menu of several appetizers, entrees, sandwiches and desserts and get tableside service.

As people grow older, their sense of taste becomes more and more muted. At the same time, making do with less sodium in their meals is a medical directive for many,

So it’s a challenge to prepare items that fulfill that dietary requirement while still delivering the necessary flavor punch.

“We really concentrate on the flavors by using lots of herbs and spices,” said Lidia Summerour, Chambrel’s director of dining services. “We grow many of our own herbs, and we have several seasoning mixtures that have no salt in them.”

A culinary arts division of Brookdale Living, Chambrel’s parent company, has developed gourmet-quality sauces and spice mixtures and tests recipes for nutritional values and enjoyability quotient. But Chambrel’s trained chefs can tweak them to suit residents’ preferences, said Jim Cunningham, the community’s executive director.

“Lidia asks residents every week if they have any requests. We even ask if they have any favorite recipes and see if we can put them on our menu,” he said.

On a recent weekday, specials of the day included mushroom barley soup, tequila lime chicken breast, pot roast and gravy, shrimp scampi, tiramisu and French silk chocolate pie.

Despite the fact that it had been made with appreciably less salt, the soup was good enough to be served at a restaurant. And the pot roast, which had been slowly cooking for 10 hours, was tender and satisfying.

Another diner’s spinach salad from the salad bar looked very inviting, with crumbled blue cheese, walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette.

The kitchen makes as much as it can in house, including some delicious, fresh baked rolls that didn’t even need butter to be tasty.

“Food is one of the central parts of our residents’ lives, so it’s important to us to make it as special for them as we can,” Cunningham said.

With a total population of 300, Chambrel provides independent living opportunities in apartments and cottages as well as 24 assisted living quarters.

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