Date: August 9, 2019 | Category: News
From left are Cheryl Friedley, Victor Chavarria, and Kathryn Blevins
By Toni Sabol
El Dorado Springs Coordinator
The success of our kitchen means teamwork and respect for each other’s individual skills and talents. That mindset has contributed to the excellent meals the staff have been providing those in the center and to the HDM — which have become the talk of the town!
Head Chef Victor Chavarria originates from Laredo, Texas, and has been working in a commercial kitchen for more than 13 years. However, his cooking background actually goes back much further, to his toddler days.
His grandma, who was also an avid cook, would seat him in his highchair as she created her own meals for the family. Victor thoroughly enjoyed watching and, as he grew, learned some excellent cooking skills that would later help to advance him in his career.
When asked what he enjoys most as Head Chef, Victor smiles and says, “The love everyone has shown, and the compliments we receive about our meals. I make a point to always listen to suggestions; then I try to add them to the menu.”
He is diversifying the monthly menu and focusing on new bread and dessert recipes. Victor has two huge passions. When he gets home, you’ll find him either cooking in his own kitchen or playing video games.
Sous Chef, Kathryn Blevins, originally from Alliance, Ohio, has a background very similar to Victor’s.
As a little girl, she remembers being in each of her grandmas’ kitchens to watch or lend a hand. Later, when she was 10 or 11 years old, she was skilled enough to cook dinner for her mom, sister and herself.
“I’ve always loved cooking,” Kathy said, “and seeing empty trays coming back to the kitchen means we did our job right.”
Open to new recipe ideas, she is, “researching ‘back in the day’ dessert recipes that our seniors may remember and enjoy.”
Kathy has a brother and sister with whom she enjoys spending time. “I also have a son who is turning 33, and a 2 ½ year old grandson who is my pride and joy. I try to see them as often as possible.”
Cheryl Friedley, Kitchen Assistant, is from Kansas City, Missouri, and works through AARP’s 55+ Program. She has been with the center for one year.
When asked what she enjoys most about the center, she said, “The people. I’m really proud of the way everyone looks out for one another here.”
Cheryl keeps a very close eye on the kitchen and dining room. She’s the one you’ll see running back and forth, from kitchen to the dining area, taking meal requests from those unable to fix their own trays due to physical limitations. She then hand delivers their requested meals and, once they’ve finished, brings their empty trays back to the kitchen for cleanup.
Trusting Victor and Kathy’s excellent cooking skills, Cheryl added, “Whatever the cooks are up to, I’m in.”