Our Compliments To The Chef
(Photo above: Chef Sean Gabowski enlists Our Lady of Consolation residents to help develop new menu items.)
Sean Gabowski is manager of culinary services at Our Lady of Consolation Nursing & Rehabilitative Care Center in West Islip, one of three award-winning nursing homes operated by Catholic Health Services (CHS).
His job is to ensure the daily production and delivery of healthy, satisfying meals to nearly 300 residents. But managing a quality food services operation is only partly based on kitchen skills. It’s also based on a healthy dialogue—with those you’re serving.
“What I like more than anything is making the rounds each day, talking to our patients and residents,” says Gabowski. “They’ll tell me how much they liked their breakfast that morning, or their dinner the night before. And, they often give me some great ideas for new dishes we can add to the menu.”
Indeed some of the residents volunteer to serve as the kitchen staff’s testers. “They’ll suggest a new dessert or new kind of entree,” he explains. “I’ll have my team whip it up, give them a taste and see what they think. Sometimes they’ll suggest a little more of this or less of that. It’s a fun collaboration. Once we get it just right, it’s ready to go on the menu so everyone can enjoy.”
Our Lady of Consolation’s Chief Administrative Officer Jim Ryan sees the good food and tasty treats as part of the overall mission. “Our team is very patient-focused. We’re here to nourish the spirit as well as the body,” he said. “That means we bond with the people we take care of. This is their home and we want everyone to feel they’re in a very caring environment.”