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August 18, 2023

Vitalia Rockside Culinary Director Appreciates Their Mentor for Inspiration

Category: Senior Living

Author: Nick Gutendorf, Culinary Director

In a world where culinary masterpieces are pushing the boundaries of flavors and presentations, there exists an invaluable secret to culinary success, mentorship. Behind every chef’s triumph, there stands a guiding light, a culinary mentor, who ignited the flame of passion and drive, unlocking the true potential within a budding culinary enthusiast. A mentor can present oneself in a variety of ways. It may be hands-on cooking in the kitchen and guiding with culinary techniques, providing direction with passion, drive, and inspiration, or pushing the mentee through the tough days, knowing the outcome will be much greater. The person who can spark creativeness and help shape a culinarian’s journey from raw talent to culinary brilliance, creates the type of stories we love to share at Vitalia Rockside.

The person most instrumental in my personal growth and drive in the culinary field is John McAninch. I met John at my sister’s house; he is her next-door neighbor. John hired me at Kentridge Senior Living, but I was only there for a month before transferring to Stow. I continue to stay in contact with John.

To me, a mentor is someone who pushes you to keep getting better as a worker and as a person. They are someone you can rely on and talk to as needed.

If I had to create one dish that best represents John, it would be some kind of orange-bourbon chicken wings. Also, he makes a delicious Old-Fashioned.

As we continue to push our creative menus and flavors, we can reflect on all the amazing culinary mentors out there who have dedicated their time, energy, and wisdom to help develop us as Culinary Directors, along with their teams. As the culinary world evolves, one thing remains constant, the torch of culinary mentorship will continue to shine and bring new, upcoming chefs into our communities. Let us celebrate this tradition by raising a toast to the mentors who enriched our lives, giving us the opportunity to taste their delectable creations.

VITALIA® Rockside in Seven Hills, OH offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near Cleveland Clinic Mary Mount with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Top Gol Cleveland, Cleveland Metro Parks, Spiva Center for the Arts, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Zoo, and A Christmas Story House.

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