A personal touch is key to community's incredible dining experience
Highlands Ranch, Colo. — Adrian Snow has been a chef in the Denver, Colo., area for 30 years. For the past five, he has been cooking for residents at Wind Crest, a continuing care retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living in Highlands Ranch. He says the ability to serve his guests regularly and develop personal relationships with them has been a highlight of his career.
"Here, we have a unique opportunity to get to know the guests dining in our restaurants on a personal level and we can detail menus just for them," says Snow, who trained in French classic cuisine and pastry through Red Rocks Community College in Colorado.
His career has taken him from Harrah's casino to the Denver Performing Arts Center to the sales side of the food business. Having returned to the kitchen as Executive Chef of Wind Crest's Fireside restaurant and Fly'n B Café, Snow says balancing the front and back of the house remain key to maintaining happy diners and a satisfying career.
A valued voice
He finds that balance by delivering a high-quality dining experience based on frequent communication with residents like Pat Ling, chair of Wind Crest's Resident Dining Committee, about "what's working, what's not, what they'd like to see again. We're in constant communication," Snow says.
As chairperson of the committee, Ling acts as liaison between her fellow neighbors and Wind Crest's Dining Services department, relaying residents' comments and concerns, dietary needs, and requests during bi-weekly meetings with Snow, Dining Director Tom Carlson, and Assistant Dining Director Nicole Norton.
"We want to create an extraordinary experience for each one of our team members," says Carlson. "In turn, that translates to extraordinary experiences for our residents. We are committed to providing a variety of menu options as well as differentiated service models. This provides those we host with the freedom of choice and personalized dining experiences they desire," Carlson says.
What makes those experiences possible is Wind Crest's unique Signature Dining program, focused on fresh, made-to-order menu offerings, executed at the moment of service to deliver an exceptional dining experience every time. The Signature Dining program empowers Wind Crest's chefs to craft menus and cook with greater creativity, while meeting the special dietary needs or requests of their diners.
In addition to regular meetings with Ling and the Resident Dining Committee, Snow conducts daily "table touches," when he visits and talks with diners to better understand what guests want from their dining experience. This, he says, is what makes Wind Crest stand out. "It's so rewarding to see your guests regularly and get to know them," Snow says. And while Wind Crest continues to grow—a brand new residence building is scheduled to open later this spring, which means more guests to serve—Snow says, "The more we grow, the greater the opportunity to make others aware of our distinct menu offerings and quality dining services."
"The chefs are very open to suggestions, and they do listen," Ling says. On the flip side, she credits the willingness of her fellow neighbors to come forth with those suggestions in making continued improvements. "I love living here. I love the community atmosphere and the willingness of people to offer suggestions."
The spice of life
With six on-site restaurants, each with a different menu, theme, and service model, Wind Crest offers no shortage of variety.
"I think it's wonderful we have so many different venues to go for a dining experience," Ling says. "That, to me, is extremely important because I like variation of foods and styles of foods. I try to eat in all of our different venues every two weeks."
Snow places high value on community members' ability to choose from a variety of foods and dining styles and makes sure that residents have a valued voice in what's offered at their community. "We believe your dining experience should be one of the most enjoyable parts of your day," he says.
About Wind Crest: Wind Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 84-acre campus in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The community is located in Douglas County and is home to more than 1,300 residents who are supported by a team of more than 600 employees. Additional information about Wind Crest can be found at WindCrestRetirement.com.
Photo Caption: Wind Crest Executive Chef Adrian Snow says it is a joy to work with such a passionate and skilled culinary team of professionals who are committed to providing exceptional dining experiences.
Photo Credit: Jenn Anderson