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Footnotes of flavor

Eagle’s Trace welcomes Shekoh Moossavi, director of dining services

Created date

August 20th, 2014
headshot of new dining director

Shekoh Moossavi has a clear goal for the dining experience at Trace.

“I see a huge potential for growth here,” says Moossavi, who joined the West Houston Erickson Living community in May as the new director of dining services. “My vision is to elevate dining services at Eagle’s Trace so residents don’t have to leave the community for a fine dining experience.”

Moossavi’s background spans the globe, and her culinary skills embrace international flavors. The Iranian native spent a year in Belgium when she was 17, then moved to Florida to attend Florida International University in Miami.

She earned a degree in biology and worked in glaucoma research before turning her life upside down to enroll at the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach. 

“The kitchen is the place where I feel at peace with the world and with myself,” says Moossavi. “It’s where I’m meant to be. I started cooking when I was 12, and my parents were always eager to try my concoctions and experiments.”

After she graduated from the Florida Culinary Institute, Moossavi joined the staff of the Amelia Island Ritz Carlton in North Florida, first as a sous chef, then as chef of fine dining.

California dreamin’

“I was curious about California cuisine and the concepts of farm-to-table, artisanally made food using the highest quality ingredients,” says Moossavi, who left Florida for the San Francisco Bay Area to open her first restaurant, Gervais, in Saratoga, Calif.

“I worked long hours, but it was so rewarding to have my own restaurant,” she says.

After three years, Moossavi sold Gervais, which specialized in French cuisine, and moved to Palo Alto, where she opened her second restaurant, Shokolaat, featuring California cuisine.

“Shokolaat is the Persian word for chocolate,” says Moossavi. “It was my father’s pet name for me. He always told me I was sweet like chocolate.”

Chocolates and caramels

Chocolate featured prominently in Moossavi’s life when she sold Shokolaat in 2012 and moved to France.

“I was invited to study chocolate and caramel making at Valrhona in the Rhône Valley,” says Moossavi. “So I sold Shokolaat, packed my life into two suitcases, and moved to France for a year and a half.”

Valrhona, a French luxury chocolate manufacturer based in the small town of Tain-l’Hermitage, is the leading producer of high-end chocolates used in fine dining restaurants.

With her training at Valrhona complete, Moossavi was invited to teach the fundamentals of French cuisine at Culinary Institute LeNôtre in Houston, Tex.

Overseeing the kitchen

When Moossavi learned of the opening at Eagle’s Trace, she was intrigued.

“I have a passion for creating a system and making the system work by putting people in places where they are responsible for moving the big wheel we’re all a part of,” says Moossavi. “In my new role as director of dining services, I work with the chefs, the wait staff, and the residents to create a memorable dining experience.”

Toward that end, Moossavi meets weekly with the dining services committee, a group of residents who offer feedback on the dining experience at the community’s two restaurants.

“To enhance the residents’ dining experience, we’ve added made-to-order action stations, including pasta, stir fry, salad, and ice cream, in both the Garden Room Restaurant and the Eagle’s Roost Café,” says Moossavi. “I’m working with our suppliers to secure the highest quality ingredients, and I’m ensuring we use the proper cooking techniques in the kitchen to enhance the flavor of each dish.”

Dan Wagner, who serves on the Resident Advisory Council as the liaison to the dining services committee, says Moossavi’s approach is already earning high marks from residents.

“Shekoh is making subtle changes that enhance the dining experience,” says Dan. “I’m enthused about where our dining services program is headed.”