Addition to culinary team creates recipe for dining success
Springfield, Va. — At Greenspring, a continuing care retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living in Springfield, Va., a team of the finest culinary experts provide delicious and healthy food options as part of an industry-leading signature dining experience.
Giovanni Carlo, Executive Chef at Greenspring's Woodland Skies restaurant, exemplifies the talent and commitment behind the community's dining program. An Italian-born chef with international work experience at a variety of world-class establishments, Giovanni strives to meet and exceed the dining expectations of each community member.
"Dining at Greenspring is different than anywhere else because not only is creativity encouraged but menus are specifically tailored based on the input we receive from our residents," says Giovanni. "We are one big family. Nearly every day I am stopped by a resident or family member who tells me how much it means to them to be a part of Greenspring, and how much they love the food prepared for them."
Raised in Castelvenere, Italy, a small town near Naples, Giovanni developed a passion for food at a young age. As a young teenager, he attended Piedimonte Culinary School in Caserta.
"At sixteen I began apprenticing for world-renowned chef Gualtiero Marchesi at his name sake restaurant, a three-star Michelin establishment in Italy," he says.
Two years later, Giovanni was leading the kitchen at Pavarotti and Friends in London where he began experimenting with flavors and developing a culinary style of his own.
Shortly after turning 21, Giovanni moved to the U.S. and began his American culinary career as a Sous Chef at Galileo Restaurant Laboratorio in Washington, D.C. He later worked as Chef de Cuisine at Assaggi Restaurant in Bethesda before accepting an Executive Chef position at Panache Restaurant Tyson's Corner.
Looking for change
With a wife and two young daughters at home, Giovanni found it increasingly difficult to maintain the work-life balance he desired while working at these highly-acclaimed fine dining establishments.
"I researched Greenspring and liked what I learned," he says. "I would be able to work with talented chefs, utilize fresh ingredients, and continue my culinary education, while at the same time meeting my need for more family time."
Since beginning work at Greenspring a year ago, Giovanni discovered additional benefits he never expected from his new position.
"In the other restaurants I worked at I did not know the guests on a personal level," he says. "They would come to eat and then leave. It's very different at Greenspring. Every day, I feel like I am at home cooking with my extended family. We share stories and connect over food. It brings back wonderful memories for me of my life in Italy."
Greenspring resident Betty Griffin, chair of the Resident Council's dining committee, immediately recognized the impact of Giovanni's arrival.
"Chef Giovanni has introduced some very nice, new dishes to the menu at Woodland Skies," she says. "He is very personable. I often see him outside the kitchen connecting with the residents."
Giovanni's co-workers also appreciate his influence on the dining services program at Greenspring.
"Chef Giovanni is respectful and caring of his team members," says Greenspring's director of dining services Tyshan Wilson. "He is friendly and enthusiastic both with his colleagues and residents. Like the entire dining team, he has a true passion for food and service, and for providing that personalized experience our residents expect and deserve."
As a team, all of Greenspring's talented chefs make it their number one priority to create healthy, delicious dishes that meet the unique needs of each resident. All Greenspring restaurants provide Signature Dining, preparing meals at the moment of service, enabling chefs to better meet the dietary restrictions and food preferences of community members.
"The dining team at Greenspring is wonderful to work with," says Giovanni. "Everything is done from the heart and everyone puts their souls into the dishes they create. My co-workers and the residents have become a second family to me."
Looking forward to his second year at Greenspring, Giovanni appreciates the new opportunities and experiences his job provides.
"As a chef, I truly enjoy the opportunity, each day, to share my gifts that celebrate life through food," he says. "There is nothing better than seeing a resident eat, laugh, and enjoy a meal with family or friends. That is a gift I truly treasure and one I take great pride in."
For those interested in a career like Giovanni's, opportunities can be found on the career section of the company's website.
About Greenspring: Greenspring, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The community is located in Fairfax County and is home to nearly 2,000 residents who are supported by a team of more than 1,000 employees. Additional information about Greenspring can be found at GreenspringCommunity.com.
Photo Caption: At Greenspring, Executive Chef Giovanni Carlo shares his world-class cooking experience and culinary gifts to create exceptional, personalized dining experiences for community members each day.