Just over four years ago, Matthew Lecours was working as a district chef for Microsoft and then previously as an executive sous chef for the Seattle Mariners, traveling around the country for events such as the All-Star Game, World Series and Super Bowl. Matthew was then steered in the direction of retirement communities by his mentor, an arbitrary move for the distinguished chef.
Chef Lecours took five months to find the right senior community, and once he landed at Emerald Heights, he knew it was the perfect fit as the community wanted to add more of a luxury restaurant feel to its dining. “As a chef, it’s crucial to keep fresh with creative cuisine, and Emerald Heights was open to new concepts and adding new dishes to the menu,” Chef Lecours explains. This included revamping the kitchen for efficiency and streamlining the products brought in from local farms. His priority was to bring in these local products, stay in budget, and provide high-end meals and products to residents.
Chef Lecours oversees all three of the dining rooms at Emerald Heights, and is very hands-on in his role. His primary goal for himself is to pass his skills and knowledge on to his staff, which “you can’t do from sitting at your desk all day.” While staying busy with cooking, overseeing operations in the dining rooms and training staff in new skills, Chef Lecours is also conceptualizing new menus and concepts, always trying to stay ahead of the trends.
Chef Lecours explains that one of the best parts about working at Emerald Heights compared to his previous restaurant work, is that he will immediately receive feedback from the residents, whether it be positive or not. “It’s such a different atmosphere and environment at Emerald Heights. You don’t just care about the food you make, you truly care for the people,” he said. “In a restaurant, a customer comes in and leaves when they are finished eating, and you’ll likely not hear feedback about their dining experience. When residents dine in one of our dining rooms, they will tell us how they feel because we’ve developed a relationship, and as a chef, that’s all I could ask for.”