Chef Celebrates 20 Years, Dining in Senior Living Industry Continues to Evolve

Category: Community Life

Twenty years ago, a Bloomington senior living community decided to take a chance on something different. At the time, chefs were not commonplace in the industry. Most residents were served meals from a registered dietician. The focus was on buffets and commercial cooking.

So when Friendship Village of Bloomington hired Chef Les Johnson to be their director of food services, they were bucking an industry trend. Les says he was the only chef who applied for the position back then, while today, a similar job opening would gain lots of interest from culinary artists.

As Baby Boomers begin to retire in greater numbers, the changes being made by senior living communities to accommodate their tastes continue to evolve. Today, the kitchen focuses on more short-order, made-from-scratch cuisine. Resident favorites these days include charbroiled lamb chops with wine demi-glace and carved beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce.

Senior living communities like Friendship Village are investing millions of dollars to enhance the overall dining experience offered to residents. The dining room of 1995 has evolved into the restaurant setting offered today. Chef Les says the retirement of Baby Boomers will continue to change the industry, as well-traveled seniors will demand the food they’ve experienced around the world.