Chef Jeff webChef Jeff, Legend Senior Living
What is your approach to making meals that are appealing to residents who may have decreased appetites?
I enjoy having conversations with our residents to find out what some of their favorite meals were prior to moving into our community. Often times, a familiar meal will quickly help with a decreased appetite. In addition to seeking input from residents, Legend works with professional teams of culinary and nutritional experts to plan an appealing variety of delicious food choices.

How do you modify recipes to ensure they are healthy?
We strive to prepare all of our meals with the freshest ingredients, we modify the sodium content and add more fresh herbs and spices instead of salt. We are able to use fresh basil, thyme, mint, and oregano from our therapeutic garden as well.

What are the best substitutes for sugar, salt and foods high in saturated fats?
Any sugar substitute, such as, Splenda, Stevia or Sweet n Low. There are several no salt seasonings that can be purchased, such as, Mrs. Dash or McCormick Spice Blends. We do our best to avoid frying foods, we bake or grill or sauté everything possible and implement health fats such as avocados or certain nuts, as long as there are no allergies.

What is one of your favorite recipes to make for residents?
Maryland Crab cakes are my favorite recipe to make! I also love preparing stir-fry dishes where I am able to do cooking demonstrations for residents.

What do you enjoy cooking at a senior living community?
Who doesn’t like homemade soup? We make homemade soups every day for the residents.

“Meals are a very important part of the residents’ day. Legend’s Gold Leaf Dining program is all about creating a dining experience that is meaningful and enjoyable to the residents. It’s rewarding for me to hear the laughter and see the relationships that develop during meal times.”

Classic Crab-Packed Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe
1 pound lump blue crabmeat, picked over for shells
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil and/or unsalted butter

In a large mixing bowl, combine half of crabmeat with mayonnaise, panko, egg, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper and stir until thoroughly combined.
Gently fold in remaining half of crabmeat until just combined; try not to break apart the lumps of meat any more than necessary as you stir. Form into patties and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a large cast iron or nonstick skillet, heat oil (and/or butter) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add patties and cook, rotating and flipping occasionally for even browning, until browned and crispy on both sides, about 10 minutes. Lower heat at any point to prevent burning, and add more oil or butter as needed if pan goes dry.

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