Food is a way of life in Kansas City, from gathering around family tables to fine restaurant dining. The desire for a great meal is universal across generations, and three Kansas City senior communities have earned their seat at the table, reinventing culinary experiences with fine restaurant-style dining in retirement communities.
On April 26, Anthology of The Plaza hosted a friendly competition and Kansas City barbecue experience for its residents, highlighting their chefs and locally sourced menus. Featuring the talented chefs from Anthology of The Plaza, Anthology of Burlington Creek and Anthology of Olathe, residents and special guests dined on a true Kansas City barbecue feast that was likened to some of the city’s best barbecue restaurants!
From ribs and pulled pork to burnt ends and all the delicious side dishes – such as cheesy corn, coleslaw and baked beans – residents, friends and families were presented with a royal spread to enjoy. No detail in the dining experience was overlooked, from the variety of sauces, sides and main dishes to the camaraderie of the chefs and residents, joyfully savoring every bite.
In Kansas City, serving barbecue is a tall order, especially to native residents who have become barbecue connoisseurs over their lifetime. The chefs were up to the challenge, presenting a menu catered to the tastes and appetite of Kansas City barbecue experts. Residents were invited to vote on their favorite dish, playfully pitting the pit masters of each community against each other, but all in good fun.
This competition was a special event involving the three Anthology communities spanning the metro, part of a monthly calendar of events, social outings and activities curated for residents. Special guests such as Kansas City Chiefs mascot KC Wolf were on board for the festivities, sampling the spread, entertaining guests and posing for photos.
Kristina Carlson, director of Health and Wellness at Anthology of The Plaza, commented that the event goes hand in hand with the environment that Anthology has cultivated, deeply rooted in a family-like atmosphere, which is part of the appeal of mealtime gatherings.
In senior communities, dining is a top priority for residents, and Anthology is reimagining the culinary experience. From daily breakfast to afternoon happy hours, the communities are bringing a personalized, social aspect back to dining. Studies show that senior citizens are at risk of isolation during mealtimes, and Anthology’s shift toward person-focused dining encourages senior citizens to develop meaningful relationships with their fellow residents as well as the culinary team who serves them.
At Anthology communities, mealtime is reimagined with a variety of dining options, including bistro-style and in-room dining. The approach to meals begins with gathering around the table in the formal dining area, encouraging socialization between residents. By emphasizing the fellowship of residents, the concept of mealtime is an event, not just a daily routine task.
But it’s the culinary team that makes the difference. Led by professional, personable chefs with extensive fine-dining experience, these culinary teams bring their heart and souls into the kitchen every day. Incorporating resident feedback and preferences into their daily menus, they provide restaurant-style dining with diverse food options for every taste.
Bruce Rice, executive chef at Anthology of Burlington Creek, is a warm, genuine presence and has a positive disposition. He mingled during the event, giving out high-fives and hugs to residents and employees enjoying the meal. It was obvious that Bruce has developed and nurtured wonderful relationships within the Anthology community as a chef. He values the Anthology approach to culinary services, which embodies his own philosophy when it comes to meal service: “Anthology encourages me to have autonomy and a sense of freedom to make a community-focused meal plan. I use and welcome feedback from the residents about the food that they enjoy, and I take pride in providing food that is good for the body and the soul.” Bruce refers to his job at Anthology as his ultimate “passion” and has worked as a chef for more than forty years.
The experienced chefs at Anthology communities believe that mealtime is a time to celebrate and enjoy, anchored in resident choice and person-directed dining. Being able to serve the residents is incredibly important to Jose Diaz, the executive chef at Anthology of Olathe, who hosts monthly meetings to curate a personalized menu for his residents using fresh ingredients and diverse meal plans with notable indulgences. Jose is authentic and upbeat and truly loves his career at Anthology. To him, the residents are “his chosen family,” balancing his personable disposition while staying attentive to residents’ needs.
These stories of chefs and the overall culinary team at these senior communities set the company apart from its competition. When residents are served delicious and nutritious meals, their mental and physical wellness is positively impacted, paving the way for a more pleasant senior living experience. Because residents rely on the culinary team to serve their meals several times per day, it is important to emphasize the importance and autonomy of dietary choices, and the chefs at Anthology strive to make every meal a rewarding one.
This personalized approach to dining has led to overall higher satisfaction rates among residents and family members, who are encouraged to join their loved ones for meals. With events like the Kansas City BBQ Competition, residents are encouraged to take part in all the amenities and culinary experiences that Anthology has to offer.
Anthology communities are already planning their next big events for their residents. One thing’s for sure: these three communities earned their spots at the Kansas City BBQ community table, and they’re revolutionizing the way that Kansas City looks at senior care and dining.
To learn more about Anthology Senior Living and to find a community near you, explore communities here.