He met a single dad of four boys there. One day, the dad happened to mention he was launching a food truck business. “We became friends,” Ryan recalls. “I worked on the truck with him. When it was ready, we ran it together.” The culinary work hooked Ryan. “I love the kind of busy you get when making food,” he says. “The reward for me was the end of the day—when you’ve finished and know you’ve done well. That’s a great feeling.”
Ryan is now our chef at Glenmeadow, and he has finalized the menu for our Progressive Lunch: Three Courses and a Discussion on the Glenmeadow Experience to be held June 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is no cost to attend the Glenmeadow Learning event, but those interested must register. The meal will begin with a watermelon salad and potato croquettes served with demi-glace.
Participants will have two choices of entrée, which they can select upon registration: seared salmon with roasted new potatoes, grilled asparagus and lemon beurre blanc; or a bistro fillet of beef with gorgonzola mashed potatoes, smoked baby carrots and au poivre sauce. Dessert is a strawberry rhubarb tart with cream cheese-filled shells and an apricot jam glaze. Residents and team members will join each table group to offer information and discussion on these four senior living topics over lunch:
- Can I afford it?
- What conveniences are available?
- What services are available at home?
- What if I need help?
“We strive for a fine dining experience here every night, and this lunch will be no exception,” says Ryan. “A lot of folks, when they hear retirement community, they think institutional food or hospital food. Our aim is in the opposite direction. We use all farm-fresh ingredients. “The food really is a selling point,” Ryan adds. “People look forward to their meals every day.”
After working on the food truck, Ryan pursued his culinary education at The Iron Frog Tavern in Simsbury, Connecticut, where he grew up. An executive chef there, who had worked at On 20, a premier restaurant in Hartford, took Ryan under his wing. “I learned a lot from him,” Ryan says. When the chef moved on, Ryan became the executive chef, and he stayed on for five years. Then, he and his wife, Leigh, decided to “switch things up.”
They lived in the Virgin Islands for a time, and Ryan worked as a chef at a Marriott Resort, and they also lived in Florida. “I met a woman who owned a beach bar and grill. I ran the kitchen, and she managed the place,” Ryan says. Ryan and Leigh eventually moved north, and they now have two children.
Ryan learned about Glenmeadow and was interviewed by Joe Pandolfini, our late director of dining services. Joe, who passed away this past spring, hired him soon after. “His sudden death was very difficult,” says Ryan. “Sandy Desautel, who was the assistant director, and I split up the work. It was a tough time, especially for those first couple weeks. But the team members really pulled together, and everyone did a great job.” All of our team members continue to miss Joe, but we are moving forward.
Alexis Girhiny started work yesterday as our director of dining services. Ryan will soon reach his two-year mark with us. “I love it here,” he says. “It’s a great work environment. All the team members in and out of my department is nothing but nice. That good workplace chemistry has an effect on residents.” Learn more about our or register for our Progressive Lunch.