Dining at the Chef’s Table in North Vancouver

Chef Taura Mackenzie’s dinner series gives seniors a behind-the-scenes experience inside the professional kitchen at Amica Edgemont Village

Amica Conversations , Dining at the Chef’s Table in North Vancouver

It’s a just before dinnertime in North Vancouver and the professional kitchen at Amica Edgemont Village is humming with activity. While the culinary team at the senior living residence is preparing to serve supper to 100 residents, Director of Culinary Taura Mackenzie is ready to host two lucky guests at an exclusive private dinner party — right in the kitchen.

Dinner with Chef Taura is the coveted grand prize in a draw held every two months at the senior living residence. For residents, the Chef’s Table dinner series is a chance to nourish their curiosity about what happens in the fully staffed, gleaming commercial kitchen. For Mackenzie, a professional Red Seal chef who sharpened her culinary resume in the kitchens of top hotels and restaurants, it’s an opportunity to connect personally with the people her team is passionate about nurturing every day with wholesome, freshly prepared food.

The behind-the-scenes experience begins in the heart of the kitchen. “We roll out a carpet, bring a dining table into the kitchen and appoint the table with linens and flowers — it’s a patch of formality amongst the stainless steel kitchen environment,” says Chef Taura. The dining table is placed at the “line,” where dishes are placed by culinary staff before servers whisk the plated meals off to each resident in the full-service, licensed dining room. “This area is a hub of activity during dinner service.”

Mackenzie pours wine for her guests and opens the meal with an amuse bouche, a small, beautifully presented appetizer. Like all residents, her guests select a choice of dishes from the daily menus, and the kitchen adds a little flare to make every course extra special. Throughout the evening, the chef answers questions and tours her guests through the kitchen and dedicated dining rooms for memory care and assisted living residents.

Mackenzie says it’s eye-opening for residents to see what it takes to feed 100 people made-to-order dishes. “I think most residents anticipate it’s going to be crazy in the kitchen. They wonder where we keep all the food. We show them the fridge, or talk about how we batch cook veggies. They’re always blown away by how organized and systematic we are in our approach to food prep and service. They’re amazed at how clean the kitchen is given the volume of food we’re creating, and impressed with how smoothly and quickly everything happens. It’s a very collaborative environment, with the dishwasher working with the chef to meet the needs of the server.”

Residents who are accustomed to thinking no further than whether they’d like the prime rib or the salmon suddenly feel connected to the planning, thought and effort that goes into every aspect of their food, right down to the silverware that’s hand-polished before every meal. “I love having a great conversation with the residents and to help them have a deeper understanding of what it takes to operate the community as a whole. They become even more appreciative of what we do, and it’s a pleasure to share that with the team.”

Find out how residents are enjoying great amenities, activities, flexible dining and personalized service at Amica residences. Book a personal visit today.