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Made to order

Custom dining experiences on the menu at Highland Springs

Created date

October 27th, 2015
Dinner party for six
Dinner party for six

When Bob and Patty O’Steen’s daughter Allison mentioned that she was meeting up with two college friends in Dallas over the Labor Day weekend for their annual girls’ trip, Patty’s mind flew into motion.

“I hadn’t seen the other two girls since Allison’s wedding,” says Patty. “I wanted to host a special meal for them.”

Bob and Patty live at Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas. The dining table in their apartment can easily seat six, but Patty wanted to be able to enjoy her guests without rushing back and forth to the kitchen.

“Another friend at Highland Springs had the chef prepare a meal for a family dinner, and she raved about the experience,” says Patty. “I thought I’d give it a try.”

Party planning perfection

Patty met with Executive Chef Patrick Becquet and Catering and Events Coordinator Wayne Medina to plan the dinner party.

“We decided to go with a Texas-themed dinner—steak and all the trimmings, with crème brûlée for dessert,” says Patty. “It was so nice to let our experienced staff handle the details. Wayne even provided succulents for the centerpiece.”

The week before the party, members of the catering team visited Bob and Patty in their apartment to finalize plans for the dinner party.

“I wanted to serve the food on my own dishes, so we chose which pieces to use,” says Patty. “We also had a server from dining services who dressed in a western shirt and jeans to go along with our theme.”

Patty says the meal was memorable for many reasons.

“It was so nice to come to my own dinner party,” she says. “We had such a good time with our daughter and her two friends, as well as one of our good friends from Highland Springs. I was able to visit and not worry about preparing and serving the food. It felt like a gift to myself.”

Signature dining

Debbie Malone, director of dining services at Highland Springs, says the personalized experience Bob and Patty enjoyed at their dinner party is indicative of a shift toward a custom dining experience for every Highland Springs resident.

“We rolled out our Signature dining program in August 2014,” says Malone. “Instead of preparing meals ahead of time, we’ve transitioned to à la minute food service. Our residents have a choice of 20 entrées nightly, and our chefs prepare the meals as they’re ordered.”

In Chisholm’s Restaurant, the menu changes seasonally with some of the most popular dishes—petite filet, shrimp, and fresh fish—offered continuously.

“In the café, we’ve improved our grill selections so residents can order a variety of hamburgers and Reuben sandwiches,” says Malone. “We also have plans to add more stations to the café, like cooked-to-order pasta and pizza, a full soup and salad bar, and ice cream station.”

Malone says variety is key, giving residents options to customize their dining experience.

“Whether we’re serving residents in the restaurant, in the café, in the private dining room, or in their own apartment, we want to create memorable dining experiences,” she says.