Dining with Donald! The Hearth’s Head Cook Shares His Latest Summer Recipe
Meet Donald and Discover his Passion for Food and Cooking at The Hearth!
Head Cook at The Hearth at Drexel, Donald, says the best part of his day is bringing smiles to residents’ faces as they delight and enjoy the community’s inspired cuisine. Whether he is serving grilled ahi tuna or residents’ favorite crab cakes, Donald makes sure to bring happiness and health to the people of this community with every meal.
Originally from Jamaica, Donald’s interest for food and cooking began with his family. “It started with my mom,” he says. “Everybody in my family is a cook. That’s really where my background in food comes from.” Growing up eating delicious Jamaican food, Donald got a taste of American cuisine when he moved here 20 years ago.
From Jamaica to the U.S., Donald learns American cuisine
“My work in the food industry began when I got hired as a dishwasher in an assisted living community,” he explains. When Donald began working in a nearby community, he gained valuable experience, and his opportunities for growth became abundant. “I started as a dishwasher and worked my way up to become a cook,” he says. “That was really where I learned how to make American cuisine.”
Perfecting his culinary skills alongside experienced leaders, Donald’s boss at the time applied for a job in dining at The Hearth. “When my boss went to The Hearth, he said I did such a good job working with him that he wanted me to come work there too.”
Donald began working at The Hearth in 2005. Since then, he’s enjoyed showcasing his culinary creativity and working in the kitchen alongside his team, including The Hearth’s Director of Dining, Chris. “Chris and I work closely together with the dietician here to create menus that ensure every meal is healthy and delicious.”
Discover dining at The Hearth! Click here to view a selection of restaurant-quality dishes from their sample menu.
I enjoy seeing residents smile and hearing how much they enjoy the food we serve. That’s really what motivates me every single day, putting a smile on their faces with a great meal.Donald, head cook at The Hearth at Drexel
Serving Restaurant-Quality Dishes in a Family-Style Environment
When Donald describes the food he serves at The Hearth, he says it truly stands out from any other senior living community. “The dishes here are restaurant-quality,” he affirms. “We like to serve seasonal food and we have a great variety. We really get creative with our meals while ensuring nutritional value.” With freshly prepared dishes served from family-style kitchens, on a typical day, residents enjoy gathering around the table for a delightful meal and conversations with friends.
Through COVID-19, to protect the safety and health of residents and staff, three meals are delivered to residents’ rooms each day. “The menus haven’t changed at all so residents still have a great variety of restaurant-quality dishes to choose from that are delivered right to their doors,” says Chris. Greatly anticipating the near future, The Hearth’s dining staff look forward to reopening their dining areas once again. “We have plans for social distancing and COVID-19 safety guidelines in all of our dining rooms when it is safe enough to open them,” Chris explains.
No matter the time of year, a favorite dish among residents at The Hearth is their freshly made crab cakes and a variety of salmon recipes. “We create high-quality menus and the residents really enjoy the food we serve here. Our dining team works great together and always makes sure that the residents are happy,” says Donald. With menus that include fresh seafood, local ingredients, and nutritious fruits and vegetables, The Hearth’s residents can always count on a delicious, healthy meal.