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Master caterer: Jenny Armitage

Created date

May 25th, 2010
Maris Grove sManager of Catering Services Jenny Armitage couldn t be happier with what s on her plate. Her life has come full circle since growing up in Bristol, England (90 miles west of London), in a family where there were a lot of mouths to feed. Her parents had four children and fostered others, so someone was always in the kitchen. Mom and Dad cooked equally, Armitage says, and they made it fun. The joy of cooking led Armitage to Paris, where she studied at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, and she has been involved in hospitality ever since. These days, she meets the exciting challenge of feeding approximately 2,000 residents as part ofMaris Grove sDining Services team. People are discriminating about what they eat, and we can meet all of those diverse needs, whatever they may be, she says. To make on-campus dining a unique and exciting experience, Dining Services has created special meals to keep things fresh forMaris Groveresidents. In her role managing the catering team, Armitage hosts a quarterly afternoon tea event. Several cookouts are in the works for the summer, Armitage says, where they ll be bringing back the proper old-fashioned BBQs. Also, to allow the people who live atMaris Groveto interact more intimately with the chefs from the on-campus restaurants, they re having an Iron Chef dinner once a quarter. The first one will take place at the end of this month. Each of the four chefs Marvin, Scott, Steve, and Courtney will cook a dish in the middle of the room and residents will be encouraged to ask questions, offer feedback, and of course, sample their creations.

Catering to every need

Typically, those who live atMaris Grovecall on Armitage and the catering team for holidays and special occasions.There are also sports banquets, graduations, parties, anniversaries, breakfasts, as well as baby showers, wine tastings...the list goes on. But the community s catering services aren t just for residents use. There are several groups that come to campus and have their meetings and events catered byMaris Grove. The Rotary Club meets weekly; the Delaware County Human Resources Association and the Delaware County Women s Commission meet monthly. These events draw people from both on and off campus, which enriches community presence and interaction. Because of the way we re structured, it s much cheaper for community groups to come toMaris Groveinstead of going to the local country club, says Director of Dining Services Joe Guidetti. In this way, we re giving back to the community. We re in the business of taking care of residents; if someone needs an event, we can take care of all the details. And in taking care of the residents, by extension, we re taking care of the community. Maris Grove is even starting to cater weddings, as residents children and grandchildren opt to celebrate their special day on campus. Why not? It s so beautiful, Armitage says. Between the grounds and the chapel and everything, this truly is the perfect place for a wedding.

Bon App tit

TheMaris GroveTV studio is always looking for ways to serve up interesting and tantalizing material. In keeping with tradition, a new program is in the works. It s called Bon Appetit, and it was proposed by John Gutberlet, a resident who volunteers in the studio by writing and producingMaris GroveMatinee. The idea is to showcase European recipes that the residents will prepare inside their apartment homes, and the atmosphere should match the theme. For example, whether it be Italian, French, Polish, or German fine dining, the d cor should accent the meal. This could be a natural show, Gutberlet says. I ve met people here from so many different parts of the world, and their eyes just light up whenever they talk about the food.
Maris Grove is an Erickson retirement community in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Erickson manages a network of 19 communities nationwide that combine a maintenance-free, active lifestyle with social activities, amenities, and medical offerings proven to improve both physical and mental health.