Seniors’ heart caught through the stomach by youth

New young cooks in Riverside Place are bringing joy to seniors’ stomachs, as well as to the heart.

Left to right: Erica Byers

New young cooks in Riverside Place are bringing joy to seniors’ stomachs, as well as to the heart.

Five culinary students from Northside Christian School were brought into Riverside Place’s kitchen staff by the facility’s new caterer, Christy Goultry, in June, said Riverside Place resident Dene Cutts.

Having lived in the facility for the last two years, Cutts said the new staff brought not only great food, but also great company.

“They come and set up the table, they serve us, and then clean up,” Cutts said. “And the nice part of it is, at the end of the day, they come out of the kitchen and give us a big smile and a big hug.”

She added, “To a 90-year-old lady at the end of the day, that’s nice.”

When serving dinner, one of the cooks, Erica Byers, seemed to have memorized each resident’s preferences, as she ladled out portions customized for each dish — extra apple sauce for one senior or mashed potatoes for another, for example.

“I haven’t been working here that long, but it comes naturally,” Byers said.

While most of her food skills came from cooking at home, her favourite part at work is the people, she said.

“When I’m working, they’ll ask about what you are doing,” Byers said. “They just care about you.”

She added, “Sometimes I stay and play the piano, they love that I stay.”

For another student cook Stephanie Ludwig, who also helped to serve meals, the conversations with seniors are a highlight at work.

“They always make me laugh when I come to work,” Ludwig said.

In addition to new staff, Jordan Martens from Northside started work at Riverside Place two years ago.

“It’s been really fun,” Martens said. “I made lots of interesting connections with people I would never have thought of.”

The students were referred from Northside’s food course when Goultry approached the school for potential kitchen staff, upon her new role in managing the kitchen in June, she said.

Her catering company, Shannon’s Kitchen, features homemade desserts as well as bread in the facility, and was named after her mother who had published a cook book in Vanderhoof years ago, she said.

“She gave me the passion for cooking.”

Goultry said she keeps the kitchen window open throughout food preparation time, allowing the seniors to visit while they cook.

“Everyone has the same passion for the seniors,” she said. “The people make working here so great.”

She added, “It’s like my second family.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Northern Health records 1st fatality due to COVID-19

Six people died from the novel coronavirus on the weekend, health officials confirm

Police look for vehicle, male driver after incident involving girl, 11

The driver was described as an older Caucasian male with white hair, no glasses, and no facial hair

Anger growing among B.C. salmon anglers shut out of public fishery

Fisheries minister stands by “very difficult” decisions to limit openings

Potential COVID-19 exposure at Northern B.C. wedding, headstone raising

Several positive cases identified in Fort St James

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

B.C., Alberta sending nearly 300 fire personnel by Friday to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Some 230 firefighters, most from British Columbia but including a number from Alberta, will be deployed Friday

Most Read