We’re taking a peek behind the scenes into the kitchen of Clarendale Clayton. The director of culinary experience, Adam Shaw, has a background working in major hotels like The Ritz-Carlton, and he uses that experience to keep things fresh and innovative at the senior living community. He shared with T&S how collaboration with residents and his culinary team is the perfect pairing when it comes to creating a great menu.
What are the dining options at Clarendale Clayton?
We have three concepts. There is a bistro on the first floor. On the second floor, the Lake Forest Lounge has more of a gastropub-like feel. You can order a lot of shareables, and there are happy hours. Finally, we have our fine dining option, The Wydown, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
How do you approach menu creation at Clarendale Clayton?
We want to create innovative dishes that also are healthier options. We work with nutritionists to ensure the dietary needs of residents are being met. Of course, we also consider specific dietary restrictions. There is a lot of flexibility. While we have three menus, you can order off of them at any time. We welcome people switching out proteins, and dishes can be made vegetarian by swapping in plant-based meat alternatives, mushrooms or tofu. We try to keep things creative and offer a wide variety. People are going to eat here every day, and we don’t want them to get bored. We experiment with everything from Italian to Japanese cuisine.
Are there any special concerns that come with the diets of older adults?
As I said, we work with a nutritionist to ensure meals are properly balanced, but I think it’s really more about creativity and variety than anything else. Many of our residents are cautious of salt, so we do try to be mindful of that. We also have to think of family members who are going to dine with us as well. We serve a lot more meals to guests than we originally anticipated. It’s hundreds a month.
What impact do residents have on the dishes served?
We are a very resident-driven community. They are used to dining in the best restaurants in St. Louis, so their expectations are extremely high. The menu really is decided by their wants and needs. When people move in, I like to talk to them about not only food allergies and restrictions, but also their favorite meals or any family recipes they would like to share. There also is a culinary committee that meets with our team once a month. It was established very quickly after we opened, and it shares what residents like and dislike and what they’d like to see added to the menu. It’s a lot of fun to collaborate with them. You strike a balance between your expertise and their requests.
How does Clarendale Clayton engage with the larger St. Louis culinary community?
We believe in sourcing from local farmers and purveyors. We serve Kadi’s coffee, our bread comes from Companion, and we work with Colleen’s for cookies and baked goods. We want to be part of the greater St. Louis community, and that means it’s important to create partnerships with local companies. We love working with them. We also want to start collaborating with some local chefs. By bringing them to Clarendale Clayton, we really can position ourselves as not just a senior living community, but also a culinary presence.
Are there any menu items you can never get rid of?
There are few dishes that I don’t think will ever leave the menu. The residents absolutely love the pecan-crusted salmon with maple-bourbon glaze. We regularly serve almost 20 of them a night. I’m known for my pancakes. They’re always a big hit. The crème brûlée also is very popular—it’s flavored with Tahitian vanilla bean.
4 salmon filets
1 c. herb marinade
1 c. pecans- chopped
1 c. panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
- Place salmon filets in marinade. Set aside for at least 2 hours.
- Mix the pecan mixture together. Place salmon in a bowl and thoroughly coat salmon in crumb mix
- In a skillet over medium heat sear the salmon till golden brown on both sides. Place in the oven until internal temp is 145 (approx. 7-9 min.).
dried fruit quinoa
1 c. cooked quinoa
¼ c. dried golden raisins
¼ c. dried cranberries
¼ c. dried cherries
¼ c. freshly chopped herbs (thyme, basil, parsley)
¼ c. butter, diced into cubes
¼ c. fresh peas
- Place cooked quinoa in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients into the quinoa and mix well
- Chill down, and reheat to serve
Photo courtesy of Clarendale Clayton