She never dreamed that one day she would actually become a cook for the senior living and memory care voted #1 in Northwest Indiana, but Stephanie Joseph listened to the encouragement of Chef Jerry and decided to take the risk to try something new. Was she scared? Absolutely! Did she succeed? Absolutely, just ask the residents who enjoy, among other dishes, her homemade soups!
Stephanie confesses she has her mother to thank for the 10 soup recipes she makes at Residences at Coffee Creek. She alternates them each week, working with the menu Executive Chef Sarah makes with Chef Jerry. “I call her and she shares her recipes and tips. That’s where I get my cooking skills. Although she thought it was crazy at first, when I told her I was going to be a cook,” she laughs, “because I never showed any interest in cooking. She thinks it was an interesting switch.”
Working as a server at the Residences, Stephanie would watch in the kitchen as the cook and chefs made the large meals for the family of residents. She began to pitch in and help and that’s when the encouragement and mentoring by the chefs began. She says she was really scared at first; it was a large learning curve, but now she really enjoys cooking as well as her role as Cook. “I watched how they made the big meals—lunch is actually the most challenging because it’s the main meal of the day for the residents. When we cook these entrees it’s like cooking for the holidays. We’ll roast turkeys, hams, and make potatoes and vegetables very fancy,” she explained. Soup and salads are always available.
“Supper is more like fancy sandwiches, salads, eating lighter,” and we always stock similar items in the bistro for residents to take to their rooms, so like a restaurant it’s non-stop,” she continued. Stephanie actually started her career as a server at a restaurant in New Carlisle where she lives, and then in Portage for seven years at Cappos. She joined Residences in April 2020 as a server. Stephanie earned a BA in Communications as a student at Purdue University West Lafayette. She was an Administrative Assistant at Northshore Health Centers so she has followed her own words of wisdom she offers to those who are exploring careers: “Try a lot of things until you find what you love.”
She is so happy she took the risk to become a cook, although she has another confession –she says she cooks “way less” at home and that her two sons ages 11 and 16 are “picky” and prefer McDonald’s! Yet she finds it interesting to respond to residents’ requests. “They enjoy some of the old favorite ‘comfort foods’ like Salisbury Steak and other homey style meals. But they really seem to like Chinese style dishes and are asking for it more and more.” Residents like their deserts, too, so she is trying to incorporate new recipes. She found she enjoys baking when she created a home-made double layer cake for a resident’s birthday recently and the mousse was a hit, too.
What menu item is she most surprised by? Mashed potatoes are NOT a hit with the residents! But they really like the twice-baked potatoes she makes, just to be sure her customers are happy and eating what they love! That’s as important to Stephanie as doing what she loves.
Residences Senior Living values each and every member of our team. For more information about joining the Best Assisted Living and Memory Support communities in the Region, click here to view opportunities at Residences at Deer Creek, Schererville and Residences at Coffee Creek, Chesterton.