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Executive Chef Bolsters Culinary Excellence at Maris Grove

March 5, 2019

Le Cordon Bleu-trained Executive Chef Justin Pagano says the restaurants at Maris Grove, an Erickson Senior Living community in Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, are as professionally managed and operated as any he's worked in throughout his career.

After graduating from Peter Kump's New York Cooking School, now called The Institute of Culinary Education, Pagano ran two restaurants at Peddler's Village, a historic shopping, dining, and lodging resort in Buck's County, Pennsylvania. He then led the banquet department at the Four Seasons, in Philadelphia, before owning a bistro-style café with corporate catering, called Cravings Café, in North Wales.

While he enjoyed flexing his entrepreneurial muscles, when a colleague "opened my eyes to the fact that [Erickson is] a scratch and a la carte kitchen that works with legitimately skilled and trained chefs," he saw an opportunity for greater career development opportunities and fulfillment.

That was ten years ago, and he's as excited about his career now as he was when he started with Maris Grove. Today, as executive chef overseeing Maris Grove's six restaurants, Pagano plans the menus, arranges theme nights, develops his team, and perhaps most importantly, constantly communicates with residents to listen to their needs and desires, concerns and comments.

Because Maris Grove hires high school students for many of its dining services positions, Pagano has the opportunity to help those employees grow. "One of the unique things about what we do here at Maris Grove is being able to see an employee come in as young as 14 years old as a busser or runner and still be here ten years later as a line cook looking for a career in the culinary industry," he says.

Ten-year veteran Jarrett Carroll worked his way up from line cook to sous-chef to now executive chef of Maris Grove's Millstone Restaurant and Coburn Café.

"My team is ultra-important," Pagano says. "They are my left and right hand."

Aside from developing his culinary team, Pagano has also helped revolutionize the entire dining experience at Maris Grove. Within the past three years, Maris Grove and all of Erickson Living's communities, offers Signature Dining, which provides fresh, made-to-order, resident-focused menu offerings, executed at the moment of service to deliver an exceptional dining experience.

Signature Dining empowers chefs to cook with creativity and meet special dietary needs or requests of their diners.

"We want to create an extraordinary experience for each one of our team members, that, in turn translates to extraordinary experiences for our residents," says Dining Director Joseph Guidetti. "We are committed to a variety of menu options as well as differentiated service models. This provides our residents with the choice and unique experiences that meets their expectations."

For more information about career opportunities at Maris Grove, please visit https://www.ericksonseniorliving.com/careers

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