Morrison and Western Home pros inspire a new generation of culinary professionals Culinary students at the Waterloo Community Schools Career Center saw professionals in action when Western Home Communities dining staff provided leadership for a culinary event December 11 at the Career Center. Students worked side-by-side with Executive Chef Phillip Sade, Randy Husted, director of dining services, and Garret Gerdes, chef at Windcove. They were assisted by Western Home Communities student employees Quincy James, Jaida Dix and Ashanti Sallis, and their culinary classmates. An impressive display of hors d'oeuvres awaited hundreds of student guests attending the event in two shifts. “The mentorship piece is huge for students,” said Tracey Hulme, culinary arts instructor. “These professionals are making a difference when they make time for our students. Students who are on the bubble of deciding what to pursue as a career love to see the speed and energy behind the scenes of a culinary event,” she said. “When professionals treat them as friends and co-workers, there is even more positive impact.” Continued on page two Quincy James, left, works at Windcove as a server and attends culinary classes at the career center. He assists Phillip Sade with a final garnish. Windcove chef Garret Gerdes tapped his skills and positive energy to create a fun experience for high school students.
Phillip Sade had the idea to engage with the culinary program to cultivate relationships with potential employees who could further develop their interests on the job at Western Home Communities. “If we can inspire one student to make the culinary arts their career, all of this is worth it,” he said. Garret Gerdes has worked at Windcove for two years. “I like learning different styles of cooking,” he said. “My favorite thing to prepare is meatloaf because residents love it.” His advice to students is to welcome feedback on your cooking: “If the comment is critical, don’t take it to heart, you can learn from it.” Jaida Dix (center, top photo), an employee at Caraway Cafe since 2018, is a member of the competitive culinary team at the Career Center. She will graduate from Waterloo West High School this spring before attending the culinary program at Kirkwood Community College. She plans for follow that coursework with culinary training in New York City. She’s confident that she will return to the Midwest and her family roots. She was inspired by her uncle, the late chef Brice Dix, to pursue a culinary career. “Find something that you love and stick with it,” she said. Husted believes in mentoring students who have culinary career goals. “It's an honor to have the opportunity to work with students at the Career Center. The community at large will benefit from the training that is happening here.”
For my Senior Project at Saint Xavier, I decided to research The Misconceptions of Aging and Retirement Living Communities for an entire semester. For the second semester, I had to prove these misconceptions some how. As a team, we decided what better way to prove these misconceptions at Peace Village by hosting a Winter Wonderland fundraiser to show people what we’re really about. We had 150 guests attend and raised a little over $10,000 for the Peace Village Benevolence Fund! This fund provides financial assistance for residents who can’t meet their financial needs. As special guests, we had the Orland Park Mayor attend, The President of Moraine Valley Community College, and The Local Newspaper Journalist.