Al Fresco: Expanding seniors’ culinary experience

Submitted by digital on Tue, 04/05/2016 - 14:51
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[],"markups":[["strong"],["em"]],"sections":[[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Who doesn\u0027t enjoy a meal outside on a nice day? Think of all the good times you\u2019ve had sitting around a table on the patio with friends, enjoying a glass of wine and a great meal. Maybe it\u2019s a cook-out for a birthday or another special family event. Or maybe it\u2019s for no special reason \u2013 just a nice evening listening to the birds and watching the sun set. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"That shouldn\u2019t change just because someone is living in a senior community. There are many opportunities to create outdoor dining areas that expand the opportunities for special culinary experiences."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"We need to find as many venues as we can to help senior communities, and ultimately people, continue to enjoy a fine meal outdoors. Like so many of the HGTV and The Food Network shows, we can see that there are fun and exciting ways to expand dining settings. At Cathedral Village, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Philadelphia, there are al fresco events on Friday evenings. A bar and cocktail tables are set up under the large pergola for residents to gather and mingle. This is a great way for people to socialize and meet new friends."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Foulkeways at Gwynedd, a CCRC near Philadelphia, recently renovated and expanded its dining area and created a demonstration cooking bistro. They also created a patio with several tables and umbrellas. Residents love to eat outside, even when the weather might not be the best. As soon as spring weather permits and well into autumn, you will find tables occupied throughout the day. In fact, the patio needs to be expanded to accommodate more residents and their guests at peak times. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Plans for an outdoor kitchen complete with grill and refrigeration are in the works and will allow extended opportunities for use. The patio is also the setting for sales and marketing events. Prospective residents have been entertained with a gourmet \u201csmall plates\u201d meal inspired by the fresh herbs in the adjacent culinary garden, which is tended throughout the growing season by the cooks."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"[image 1: Herb garden Foulkeways CCRC] "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"These outdoor areas can function in ways that the indoor settings cannot. Holding cook-off parties, concerts, and other activities may not be possible inside. There are opportunities to demonstrate cooking techniques like smoking meats featured later for dinner that evening. A harvest party with baskets of fresh corn and other vegetables is best displayed outside around the dining area."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"It is important to create the right setting. There should be direct access to the outdoor area, both visually and physically. Doors should be easy to operate. Lighting, music and other elements should be taken into consideration. Misters can help cool off the area during the hot summer months, and portable heaters can extend the season into the cooler months. Pots of fresh herbs and flowers can be used for beauty and practical use \u2014 think fresh mint for mojitos! Pavement surfaces without steps and other design features help make the outdoor area safe and accessible."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"[image 2: Herb garden Foulkeways CCRC] "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Consider the need for a place to accommodate a few pitchers of water, condiments, additional napkins and flatware. With this convenience, residents can avoid having to return to the serving area for these items."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Many residents find themselves indoors the majority of the day, since regular community events and activities are focused inside. Outdoor dining opportunities are a great relief from always being in air-conditioned rooms, and are a great way to get the daily dose of Vitamin D."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Health departments in many locales are taking notice of the rapid increase of restaurants with outdoor dining and cooking facilities, and are beginning to require a much more intense plan review of outdoor dining\/kitchen facilities. Some municipalities require such things as refrigeration and full hand-washing facilities. If you will be providing cooked-to-order meals on the outdoor terrace, consider contacting an experienced food service facilities design firm help you plan these needs. Incorporating these and other ideas will provide new and exciting culinary experiences for the residents of your community."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"[image 3: Special events on the Terrace at Foulkeways CCRC] "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"[image 4: Orchard at Foulkeways CCRC] "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"About the Authors"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"John Kennedy, CDM is the Flik Lifestyles Director of Dining Services for the Foulkeways Continuing Care Retirement Community in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. John has been leading dining and hospitality operations for over 30 years. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Jack Carman, FASLA, RLA, is president of Design for Generations, LLC, a landscape architecture firm specializing in the design and development of therapeutic gardens in senior communities and healthcare settings nationwide. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Photo credits: John Kennedy\/Foulkeways"]]]]}
Design retirement communities to accommodate outdoor dining options for residents.
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