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August 18, 2023

The Castlewood Senior Living Culinary Director Appreciates Their Mentor for Inspiration

Category: Senior Living

Author: Sara Smith, Culinary Director

In a world where culinary masterpieces are pushing the boundaries of flavors and presentations, there exists an invaluable secret to culinary success, mentorship. Behind every chef’s triumph, there stands a guiding light, a culinary mentor, who ignited the flame of passion and drive, unlocking the true potential within a budding culinary enthusiast. A mentor can present oneself in a variety of ways. It may be hands-on cooking in the kitchen and guiding with culinary techniques, providing direction with passion, drive, and inspiration, or pushing the mentee through the tough days, knowing the outcome will be much greater. The person who can spark creativeness and help shape a culinarian’s journey from raw talent to culinary brilliance, creates the type of stories we love to share at The Castlewood Senior Living.

The person most instrumental in my personal growth and drive in the culinary field is my mother. I’ve had the opportunity to work with my mom several places throughout my culinary career over many years. When I was just a small kid, she would let me go to work with her at the pizza place in St. Louis. My first paying job was at 14. Mother would come into work with both my younger brother and me at my older brother’s family restaurant. We were starting biscuits and gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fried chicken for the Sunday specials. Mom and I also worked at several local delis together. She helped me learn to can pickles and salsa and make homemade applesauce and freezer jams. She is no longer with us, but much of her knowledge lives on.

To me, a mentor is someone that shares who and what they are in life, giving advice, support, and are an all-around role model of what you want to be in life.

If I had to create dishes that best represent my mother, it would be her meatloaf, fried chicken, or a sandwich on bread just out of the oven.

As we continue to push our creative menus and flavors, we can reflect on all the amazing culinary mentors out there who have dedicated their time, energy, and wisdom to help develop us as Culinary Directors, along with their teams. As the culinary world evolves, one thing remains constant, the torch of culinary mentorship will continue to shine and bring new, upcoming chefs into our communities. Let us celebrate this tradition by raising a toast to the mentors who enriched our lives, giving us the opportunity to taste their delectable creations.

The Castlewood Senior Living in Nixa, MO offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near Cox Medical Center South and with convenient access to major shopping centers, including Fremont Hills Country Club, Fountain Plaza, Smallin Civil War Cave, 160 Grand Prix Amusement Center, and the 4 X 4 Brewery-Fremont.

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