It is September, and two executive chefs are sitting 2,000 miles apart in their respective kitchens, exchanging chat messages. Their topic of conversation: a new addition to the dinner menu at Coterie Cathedral Hill’s fine dining restaurant.
“With beetroot coming back into season, I think we have some opportunities to really surprise the residents,” Coterie Executive Chef Chad Welch writes. “Whether it’s a starter or a salad or side dish, beets just offer outstanding versatility.”
Mayo Clinic Executive Wellness Chef Jennifer Welper agrees that beets deserve a prime position on Coterie’s winter menu, citing the multitude of nutritious, health-boosting benefits they offer, including decreased blood pressure, and reduced inflammation.
After tinkering on some ingredient lists and discussing various cooking methods, the chefs arrive at a recipe: salt-roasted beets prepared with local olive oil and served with crème fraîche, citrus fruit, toasted almonds, and a garnish of pickled Fresno chilies. It is just one of many dishes created to satisfy the discerning palate of the Coterie resident.
Through an inventive partnership with Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program, each of Coterie’s culinary offerings – from the small plates in the piano lounge to the main course in the restaurant – undergo a similar process of recipe refinement, with extra consideration given to the unique nutritional needs of older adults.
When Coterie residents sit down to enjoy a meal, they may not be aware of the unique back-and-forth that inspired its creation – but they’ll reap the benefits all the same. Research shows a nourishing diet tailored with micronutrients and antioxidants can better one’s mood, increase energy levels, and improve cognitive functioning in older adults.
Chef Jennifer Welper is an eminent authority on flavorful, healthy cuisine. With degrees in both culinary arts and nutrition from Johnson and Wales University, she’s honed strategies throughout a distinguished career that are reflected in her book, Cook Smart, Eat Well: Mayo Clinic Recipes and Strategies for Healthy Living.
With Mayo Clinic’s vast library of scientific research at her disposal, she can pinpoint opportunities to incorporate superfoods and other nutrient-rich ingredients that decrease the risks of heart disease and certain cancers, and help prevent conditions like osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
“We know the culinary choices that can add longevity to people’s lives,” Welper said. “And it can absolutely be accomplished without taking the pleasures and goodness out of good food.”
Richly satisfying cioppino, San Francisco’s signature seafood stew. Thai quinoa salad with buttery edamame. Cauliflower croquettes. A shaved Brussels sprout salad with pecorino. Coterie’s classic house vinaigrette. All befit any fine dining table while also providing older adults with the nourishment their minds and bodies need.
Targeted nutrition is especially important in the context of memory care. Coterie Memory Care dining features the same elevated and nutritious menus enjoyed by independent and assisted living residents, but with customizations that emphasize special ingredients – berries, leafy greens, fresh salmon or tuna – that contain the extra antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids shown to nourish the brain.
“There are no limitations to this approach to fine dining,” Welper said. “Talented chefs get to use their full range of skills to create vibrant, nourishing plates that satisfy on every level. It’s been incredible working with Chef Chad and seeing his creations come to life.”
With its keen focus on nutrition, this dynamic partnership has struck the right creative balance to take health-conscious haute cuisine to delicious new heights.