Celebrate the Season with These Cranberry Delights!

In November, Wesley held its first Teaching Kitchen for priority reservation list members and Wesley prospects. The first subject of our Superfood Series, cranberries, was a resounding success!

View the complete presentation here: Wesley Teaching Kitchen: Cranberries

After our host, Community Relations Director Rob Lanouette, introduced our speakers and thanked our culinary partners, Morrison Living, it was time for our culinary professionals to shine in the brand new Wesley Des Moines Demonstration Kitchen.

Valerie Rawlinson, RDN, CD, grew up in Central Washington and has a B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science from Utah State University. She completed her Foodservice Management and Long Term Car rotations at Wesley Des Moines and joined the Wesley family in 2008.

In addition to the nutritional facts about cranberries (high in antioxidants and Vitamin C), Val also provided some fun facts about this superfood. It’s a fruit native to North America and was used as a preservative by Native Americans in pemmican, an important part of the Native American cuisine. She also explained how she collaborates with the culinary team on healthy and flavorful meals. 

Our second presenter was Wesley Bradley Park’s Executive Chef Bryan Dean. Bryan is a native of Oklahoma who attended culinary school at the Art Institute of Phoenix. He worked at several restaurants before bringing his fine dining expertise to senior living communities, including Wesley Lea Hill as a sous chef.

Bryan demonstrated one of the featured recipes – Spiced Cranberry relish. He then cooked a lovely salmon and topped it with the relish. Mouthwatering!

He didn’t stop there. He then demonstrated the second recipe – Cranberry Rosemary Spritzer. Lovely presentation!

The unsung talent behind the scenes of this event deserve some more recognition. Without them, the Wesley Teaching Kitchen wouldn’t have happened. 

The first thanks go to Wesley’s culinary partners, Morrison Living, who worked with Wesley’s marketing and culinary teams to help develop this educational event. Morrison has been around for 40 years and has been a partner of Wesley for over 10 years. Their creativity and talent have been showcased during Wesley’s open houses, grand openings and Ultimate Chef events. Morrison brings their sustainable practices, such as local produce and sustainably sourced seafood, to each Wesley community. By using local produce, Morrison is able to provide menus featuring flavors of the seasons – with plenty of variety and flair! Just watch Chef Bryan in the video below.

The next “talent” is actually the Demonstration Kitchen. It’s Wesley’s first kitchen designed for this type of culinary event. With plenty of counter space, a double oven and an induction stove, it’s a popular location. Because it’s also part of the fifth floor club room in The Gardens at Wesley Des Moines, residents are also able to use it for their own special events. There’s just one problem: It might be a little hard to decide whether to look at what’s going on in the kitchen or at the enviable western view and colorful sunsets.

View the complete presentation here: Wesley Teaching Kitchen: Cranberries

View the recipe here: Spiced Cranberry Relish & Cranberry Rosemary Spritzer