As the regional director of culinary service for Atria Senior Living communities, Ben Morrow’s job is to create tantalizing menus and mouth-watering dishes for Atria residents in Texas and Kansas.
It wasn’t easy, as getting into the culinary business elicited begging from Morrow in his early years — literally.
“I started in restaurants when I was very young and found I liked what was happening in the kitchen, so I went and found a local chef in Houston at a restaurant called Chez Nous, which is owned by Gerard Brach,” Morrow explained.
“I realized I liked what he was doing, so I went there and begged at the back door and said I’d do anything.”
Fast forward a few years. Morrow now works with the directors of culinary service to provide high-end cuisine, cutting-edge training and restaurant-style menu options for residents in Atria Senior Living communities, including Houston-area locations in Cypresswood, Sugar Land, Kingwood and Westchase.
At each location, Morrow said, the menus rarely reflect one another.
“Montez Crawford, the chef at Kingwood, is very involved with the residents and has a great Italian background,” Morrow said. “He makes a great rosemary-rubbed chicken with butternut squash and sage.
“Every building is different in what the residents want, but we ask our chefs to talk to the residents to see what that particular group of residents wants.”
Morrow said that while the audience he is cooking and creating for is different than at a typical restaurant, he still has industry standards and dietary values to uphold. “We do have extra dietary guidelines that we have to meet, and that’s actually an ongoing challenge for us,” Morrow said.
Matt Mackinder is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org We, as a company, work very closely with a registered dietitian to make sure our residents are getting what they need from a dietary perspective.
“We work very hard with a lot of local chefs, and that’s where we pool our market from because they understand what works in a local market.” And it’s all working at Atria Kingwood, too. Matt Mackinder is a freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com
Learn More:NAME: Ben Morrow AGE : 34 OCCUPATION: Atria Senior Living’s regional director of culinary service COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Morrow works hand-in-hand with the director of culinary service at Atria Kingwood Senior Living FAST FACT: Away from work, Morrow said making a meal for his family is “actually quite therapeutic” as he’ll prepare the meal with his two sons
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