Making people happy is our main ingredient!
Within the kitchens of our American House communities are a special breed of culinary experts. Not only do they enjoy experimenting with flavors and making the good better, but their capacity for pleasing people is also endless. Time, effort and just the right ingredients are all rewarded by the look of delight on someone’s face as they take that first taste.
The culinary team at American House St. Petersburg fits this description like a favorite oven mitt. A passion for serving comes naturally to father and son chefs, Mike and Giovanni DeLillo. Giovanni served a culinary apprenticeship under his father for six years and now they work side by side; he as Culinary Director of Assisted Living/Memory Care and Mike as Culinary Director of Independent Living. “Coming from a strong Italian culture where food and family are everything, it’s such a blessing to combine the two in my workplace,” Mike says. “I work with family, and our residents are like family!”
With his talented son by his side, Chef Mike had the foundation of a great culinary team. When he encountered Nik Garcia, the crew trainer and bartender at one of his favorite restaurants, his dream team was complete. “Nik had passion and was sharp, a natural with the guests,” Mike says. “I knew I had to have him on my team!” With the combined culinary experience of over 22 years, these three are committed to serving our residents in the best way possible and providing healthy, good-tasting meals.
Meet our Culinary Team
Chef Mike DeLillo swapped the restaurant life for senior living, and never looked back. A born leader, he encourages teamwork to ensure our residents' satisfaction. The team's efforts are rewarded with positive feedback. “When I am walking through the community, I get a lot of praise from the residents. It makes my day!” Residents’ requests are a priority, which means cooking up some salmon whenever possible! A foodie at heart, Mike likes to try new things, which makes cooking demonstrations by the pool enjoyable for everyone. He and Giovanni have their unique approaches to cooking, and that chemistry is what makes them a successful team. “I’ve taught Giovanni the traditional ways of cooking and he also brings a fresh, contemporary flair to the culinary program.” The pace is fast, and Mike, a seasoned third-generation chef, is fine with that. After 10 years in the industry, he’s found contentment at American House. “This company has embraced me and my team with open arms—to me it’s home!”
With a six-year senior living career, Chef Giovanni DeLillo thrives on seeing familiar faces. “I enjoy working in a senior community because you can interact with the same people every day and get to know them and they get to know you.” He makes a point to say hello and listen to the residents. “People anywhere just want to be noticed, to be acknowledged,” he says. Giovanni is a fourth-generation chef, and under the guidance of his father, has learned to do the job correctly. Most importantly, he's learned that serving good food makes people happy. “I make healthy food taste good by playing around with different styles of cooking until I am confident that people will enjoy the healthy meal I’ve created.” After six years cooking for our residents, he’s learned the importance of a really good surprise. “I like to treat the residents to something special,” he says. “A trend I’ve been enjoying is making homemade doughnuts, and I stuff them with jelly because those are my favorite!”
Dining Room Manager, Nik Garcia, spent a good part of his 12-year career in the bar business, and entertaining comes naturally to him. He takes hospitality literally, working hard to provide an enjoyable dining experience for those he serves. “You never know what difference you can make for someone with good service and a smile.” Focused on his menu and the individual customers, Nik’s goal is to make every meal better than the last. “I look up healthful meals constantly, and I want to bring fun and enjoyment and create an overall delightful experience.” Nik counts on the expertise of his team to make his dining room a pleasant destination for our residents. “Between Chefs Mike and Giovanni, there is an old school, new school feeling in the kitchen. It’s always exciting to see the ideas they come up with together.” In the six years he’s been with American House, Nik has gained valuable patience and insight. “Working in a senior living community, I’ve learned so much from people who have lived and seen life for how it is. It’s like being part of someone’s book where every chapter has its own unique story.”
Some of the best stories are shared over a meal. At American House St. Petersburg, our team creates the best possible dining experience, so our residents linger longer and the stories keep coming.
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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