Have one meal at The Overlook and your perspective on what is possible within a retirement community in Massachusetts will shift. Of the myriad ways that this hilltop neighborhood in Charlton defies expectation, the dining experience might be at the top of the list. And that’s exactly how we like it.
The Overlook’s culinary program is rooted in concepts that enable every member of our community (on-campus and beyond) to get the most out of everything we put on the table. We implement farm-to-fork, field-to-table standards that engage local purveyors and transform every ingredient into delightful dishes that fuel a wellness-centered lifestyle.
So, how did we get here? Leading the charge is Jeremy Roush, our Chief of Culinary Services. He brings decades of experience working in top restaurants, luxury hospitality and contemporary kitchens—oh, and a James Beard award, to boot. Here’s how he has shaped The Overlook’s distinguished culinary offerings.
Passion and experience
Jeremy joined The Overlook in the spring of 2019 following an accomplished career in the culinary world. Since joining our team, he has helped advance the vision—and the possibilities—for what retirement dining can be.
“I started in my neighbors’ restaurant, bussing tables and doing dishes when I was 9,” Jeremy said. The fact he made a career out of cooking is no surprise. His passion for his profession truly comes through when he speaks about his work, and it’s what helps him continue innovating with every decision and dish.
“I’ve had a pretty unique experience, working for a lot of great places and people,” he added. “My experience crosses a multitude of culinary concepts from hotels to restaurants to universities, and I’m humbled to be able to bring those experiences with me here to The Overlook as we work to dynamically evolve the food system.”
Putting wholesome principles into action
As people’s preferences evolve not just for what they eat but also from where their food comes, Jeremy has been incorporating some important principles into how The Overlook acquires the ingredients it needs.
“A previous mission of mine was set upon creating a locally sourced, regionally engaged dining program using fresh, natural, sustainable ingredients,” Jeremy said. “We’re striving to do all that here and follow core values of fair trade, humanely raised animal products and organic produce, and supporting wholesome relationships with local producers, farmers and ranchers to elevate the ingredient platform.”
Those top-quality ingredients find their way into the more than 200 meals crafted, plated and served each day by Jeremy and his team of cooks, servers and foodservice professionals. Jeremy said that the culinary team begins meal prep as early as 6 a.m., and the day’s work isn’t done until long after the last dinnertime diner departs: “It’s a pretty robust program and any operation of this scale can be challenging, but we have a great team of nearly 100 people who are all committed to serving the residents.”
The Overlook’s culinary program is indeed robust and yields some impressive dishes that—like so much else here—you wouldn’t expect to see at a retirement community.
So, what’s on the menu?
Jeremy noted that between The Overlook’s main upscale dining room, Acacia, and its casual, quick-service Tucker’s Café, the community uses a hearty core menu that provides flavor and nutrition for every dietary need and preference. Aside from always available homestyle dishes, Jeremy and his team devise special seasonal fare and serve New England staples like haddock, chicken pie, Yankee pot roast and more.
In fact, you can view a sample menu from one of our recent special events by clicking here.
In common with the rest of everyday life at The Overlook in Charlton, members of the community are encouraged to get involved with the culinary program, too.
“We have a very strong and active partnership with the dining advisory committee [“Food for Thought”], so we can incorporate residents’ feedback and suggestions into the meals that we create,” Jeremy explained. “Menu development is based on resident input, and they’re great advocates for what they want to eat.”
Full bellies, fulfilling relationships
For Jeremy’s part, it is the members of the community, both residents and fellow staff, who make his job so fulfilling.
“I’ve honestly never worked anywhere such as this,” he said. “It’s incredible to come in each day to a place that’s really like family. The relationships and the bonds we build are so rewarding…there’s a genuine heartfelt relationship between team members and residents.”
Plus, although he wears many hats related to driving our entire culinary program, Jeremy is pleased that he can regularly do what he loves to do most: cook!
“I get to cook and serve very much,” he said. “Especially when working with newer team members, I can coach them on our cooking and serving concepts and get to know them beyond the name tag. The team members are really the ones who make it all happen.”
Looking toward the future, Jeremy noted his desire to “be creative and really look differently at the dining model and what it means for residents, so that they can experience what they came here for, a sense of community.”
In his eyes, that true sense of community comes from gathering together around a table and celebrating family and friendships, an experience enhanced by delicious and wholesome food.
In our view, there’s no better place to do that than here at The Overlook. Under Jeremy’s guidance, every day presents a new opportunity to eat well—and live well!
To get a taste of what it’s really like to be a member of this energetic and uplifting community, click here or call 866-753-5429 today. There’s a spot at the table for you.