Matthews, North Carolina—At age 16 in Morgantown, West Virginia, Patrick Yeager faced a familiar teenage dilemma. He needed gas money.
"My parents were hard-working, but, if I wanted to drive and hang out with my friends, I needed a job," recalled Chef Patrick, Executive Chef at Windsor Run, a retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living. "I started at KFC and worked my way to Ruby Tuesday's where I eventually helped with new location openings."
As cooking came natural to Chef Patrick, he's never looked back. After earning a degree from West Virginia University, he moved to the Washington, D.C. area and worked at the International Trade Center where he learned a great deal about the business-side of culinary arts.
This experience led to positions with worldwide companies such as Aramark and Sodexo USA, honing his talents as an executive chef and general manager in corporate and health care settings.
In 2018, Chef Patrick began his career in senior living at Windsor Run, where he appreciates the daily opportunity to provide healthy, cooked-to-order meals for residents, employees and guests.
The Team Approach
"Advancing through the ranks, I've benefitted from the power of mentorships," noted Chef Patrick. "At Erickson Living, this culture of giving back was very apparent to me during the interview process. Without question, the culinary team at Windsor Run consists of the most passionate professionals with whom I've ever been associated."
As the signature dining menu offers 25 entrees along with daily specials prepared with fresh ingredients, training and engagement are important components for providing a high-quality restaurant experience.
"I enjoy the hands-on interaction of teaching and honing the creativity of our entire team in the kitchen. It is rewarding to see them develop and enjoy the process of preparing a delicious entrée," said Chef Patrick.
At Windsor Run, residents can choose from three distinct dining venues: The Grove, a restaurant featuring a menu of pasta, beef, poultry, and seafood selections; The Woodside Café with its short-order favorites like juicy burgers, fresh salads and deli-style wraps; and Tavern 1879, a casual bar and bistro.
"We also host themed-nights and special events. Not only does this energize our culinary team, but also brings a new level of fun for residents. In just under a year, we've already held football tailgate parties, celebrated the Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras and prepared fresh-catch seafood dishes," stated Chef Patrick.
This dynamic approach to dining would not be possible without customer input.
Sherry Herion was the first resident to move to Windsor last May. Along with John Roark, she serves as co-chair of the Dining Services Committee, an advisory group that provides consistent feedback to the dining team leadership.
"One of the first things my friends ask me is 'how is the food?'" said Ms. Herion. "I can say it's tremendous. Chef Patrick is an outstanding man and chef, open to suggestions and possessing a passion to please his clientele."
In fact, the first annual holiday party on December 19 occurred as a result of this collaboration. "We came to the dining services team with the idea to celebrate the season, and they ran with it," she recalled. "The food and beverages were terrific, the rooms were beautifully decorated, and we even had a strolling violinist. What a wonderful evening!"
The restaurant business can be grueling for cooks and managers alike with long hours and job burnout a common trend. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the annual employee turnover rate in the industry was 73 percent as recently as 2016.
"My wife, Kayla, and I live in Mount Holly. We have a variety of interests from traveling to playing with our dogs, Carmen and Pearl. My career at Windsor Run allows the flexibility to pursue these activities that I otherwise might not have at a traditional restaurant," said Chef Patrick.
For more information about career opportunities at Windsor Run, please visit https://jobs.ericksonliving.com. Visitors can register for email alerts about job postings by field of expertise and location.
About Windsor Run: Windsor Run, situated on a scenic 60-acre campus in Matthews, North Carolina, is one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®. The community is home to 260 residents who are supported by a team of more than 100 employees. Additional information about Windsor Run can be found at WindsorRunCommunity.com.