Enrique: Mealtimes are like family dinner.

July 23, 2021
Pleasing people is how he puts the “art” in Culinary Art.
By Lori Bender - American House

Enrique is a chef who has always known who he is cooking for. At a young age, he started cooking for his busy family, perfecting spaghetti and meatballs at nine years old. As Culinary Director at Park Place, his recipes are larger and his talents have grown, but what hasn’t changed is knowing and caring about who he serves.

“Working at American House is different than working at a restaurant, where you just see someone once. Here we see each other every day, we’re like family,” he says.

Cooking for his community, he visits the dining room and talks to the residents. Along with glowing compliments, he hears suggestions and gets more than a few personal requests. He’s always happy to make what residents like and prepare it how they want it, so his “family” is happy. “I just tell them to let their server know,” he says, “I’ll fix it just how you like; it’ll be perfect for you.”

His prowess in the kitchen has come a long way since that early spaghetti recipe. These days, Enrique pushes himself to serve residents a variety of nutritious meals, making a point to present food pleasing to the eye and the palate. “I look for higher quality meat, fresh vegetables and an interesting mix of flavors,” he says.

Enrique insists on kicking off each meal right. “Soup is the beginning of the meal and sets the tone for the meal. If the soup is good, the resident looks forward to the meal,” he says. Sauces are another key element in his culinary arsenal. “You can put a good sauce on anything and make the meal juicy and taste delicious,” he says.

In 2017, American House hosted a Top Chef Challenge, inviting some of the company’s best chefs to participate. Enrique was proud to have won first place, especially knowing he’d won over the resident judges! “It was an honor, and I can’t wait until we do it again,” he says.

A cooking story that takes place in a senior living community is rich with personal touches and feel-good moments, and makes Enrique, and the residents he serves, feel very lucky. “You have good teammates and you get close to the residents. I love what I do!”

We all have a story. A story that taught us something, changed us and helped define who we are. At American House, your next chapter is waiting to be written. We’re here to help you write it. Your way. 

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