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Connecting with Our Residents Through Community and Homecooked Meals!

December 31, 2018

Driving through the heart of Rosemount, Minnesota you may notice the smell of delicious food wafting through the air. The smell of Executive Chef, Shaun Hammel’s menu at The Rosemount may pull you right in. It’s just one of the things that makes Cassia communities feel like home.

Chef Shaun Hammel

ChefShaun_with_Food.jpgAs Executive Chef at Cassia’s The Rosemount, Shaun Hammel says, “There is nothing better than the bond made with my residents through food.” Chef Shaun believes this and it’s really a favorite part of his job every day. 

His passion for food is what drove him to this line of work.Hamel himself is a unique choice for The Rosemount’s chef. Growing up in a Minnesota farm family meant “we grew our own food,” says Hamel. “We rarely went grocery shopping and I was taught at a young age how to cook.” Because farm-fresh ingredients were a staple of Hamel’s early years, he is committed to making his experience a staple at The Rosemount. That means “food is prepared on site, and not packaged,” he explains.

Hamel’s philosophy about taking the time to create nutritious, tasty food is part of the larger philosophy adopted by The Rosemount to focus on creating a welcoming, engaging community for each resident. Previously a chef at Cassia’s The Pines in Richfield, Hamel says he is honored to be the inaugural chef at The Rosemount.

“This position allows me to show my expertise, passion, taste and love for food,” Hamel explains. Examples of healthy meals he enjoys preparing for the residents include chicken pasta bella with marinated vegetables, broiled haddock or short ribs with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Residents can enjoy meals at any time through The Rosemount’s open, anytime-dining policy. 

Watch this short video of Chef Shaun in action and learn a bit about how he started out: 

Chef George Serra

AC_ChefGeorge.jpgCassia’s corporate chef, George Serra, brings many honors to the table. As a world-renowned chef, Serra has cooked for presidents, presidential campaigns and professional baseball players at the Twins All-Star Baseball Fantasy Camp. He has welcomed celebrities at his own restaurant, mentored an Iron Chef winner and founded Chef magazine. Even with over 30 years of culinary arts experience and ranks among the worlds most accomplished chefs, Chef George (as he is affectionately known) still finds great satisfaction in serving our community’s elders through his work at Cassia.

Serra was born in France, raised in Brazil and immigrated to the U.S. in 1962. After two years of military service in Vietnam Serra graduated from St. Ainge Culinary D’Arts in Bordeaux, France and interned under the world’s premiere saucier at the Ambassador Hotel in Milan. Serra then worked for Hilton Hotels International where he played pivotal roles in start-ups in Kenya, Singapore and Hong Kong and worked at the world-famous Waldorf Astoria in New York. While at the Hilton, Chef George participated in the International Certification program and now is an Internationally Certified chef in the United States.  

Chef George has also been involved in his own restaurant operations and was involved in the development and start-up of 32 California Pizza Kitchen restaurants in California and the southwest. While opening Pasta Time in Edina, he discovered Iron Chef winner Gavin Kaysen at the Subway restaurant next door. Kaysen went on to become executive chef at Café Boulud in New York. “For great chefs, cooking is not just a pastime,” Serra says. The majority love their jobs and want to learn.”

Chef George Serra has cooked for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush as well as presidential candidate Bob Dole and former U.S. Senatorial candidate, Colonel Oliver North, and the Democratic presidential campaign of 2008. One of the things that makes him happiest at Cassia is how appreciative diners are and how much they love his cooking. “Food is a high point of the day to people here,” he says. “It is very important to me to make them happy.”

Grow in your career at Cassia and have the opportunity, like Chef Shaun, to see the smile on the face of a resident and hear how much they enjoyed their meal. Or, grab a cup of coffee, sit down with a resident and catch up a bit. It will make your day! 

Cassia is a new partnership of Augustana Care and Elim Care. At Augustana Care and Elim Care, we were each on our own uncompromising quest to foster fullness of life for older adults, in the spirit of Christ’s love. We realized that our paths were converging, so we joined into one organization with one mission and one name: Cassia. Our name is inspired by an anointing oil, referenced in Scripture, to reflect our history of compassion, renewal and future growth. We believe that coming together to contribute talents and skills makes us not only stronger but better able to serve. New name. New collaboration. Same values.