Pleasant Meadow cook embraces the creativity that comes with his job

Dean Smith has spent his life working in food services, and it’s LTC where he wants to be

It seems Dean Smith was destined to work in a long-term-care home kitchen.

Dean, who has worked as a cook at Pleasant Meadow Manor for the past two years, says his parents laid the groundwork for his career path – his dad is a butcher, his mother a personal support worker, so he says he’s not surprised to be working a job that marries food services with health care.

“I think a lot of us look up to our parents,” Dean tells The OMNIway.

But Dean also has a strong love of the culinary arts, something he says began in his youth with watching celebrity cooks like Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay on TV.

Dean answered the career call of the food services industry at a young age. He began working in restaurants at 13, starting with busing tables and eventually working his way up to serving as a line cook and sous chef in kitchens.

In 2015, Dean graduated from the culinary management program at Fleming College.

Dean says his favourite aspect of working at Pleasant Meadow Manor is trying out new recipes with the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home’s residents.

While cooks working in long-term-care home nutritional care departments need to follow specific nutritional guidelines, there’s still room for creativity, Dean says.

This, Dean adds, is the aspect of working in the Pleasant Meadow Manor kitchen he likes best.

Dean’s supervisor, nutritional care manager Judy Schell, recently sent The OMNIway an array of photos that illustrate Dean’s talent and versatility when it comes to creative cooking.

Entrées, salads and desserts – all colourfully and creatively plated – speak to the passion Dean has for his work.

Dean says his favourite recipe to prepare for residents is his butter-tart bar, which is essentially a butter tart minus the pastry shell, a dessert that residents have enjoyed.

“It’s great to be able to give the residents something that they maybe haven’t had before,” he says. “And we give residents good quality food.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above are some examples of the meals Dean Smith has created for Pleasant Meadow Manor residents.