The Main Line Times 4/17/16

Seated in the stylish new dining room of the magnificent Cassatt estate, you could be excused for thinking you were in an upscale restaurant. That’s the whole idea, according to Chris Musselman, director of dining at Rosemont. “Times have changed. Our residents are sophisticated diners with diverse tastes. They want their meals to be an experience,” said Musselman, “and that’s what we set out to achieve.”

Rosemont didn’t just update their dining room. They set out to re-imagine the entire dining experience, both for current residents and for the next generation of baby boomers, who expect every detail of presentation, ambiance, and service to equal what they enjoy in fine restaurants.

“Based on extensive input from residents and team members,” said Musselman, “we envisioned a lighter, cleaner design where everything is made-to-order and prepared fresh. We started with a plan that responded to the residents requests, from expanded hours and waiter service at dinner to a singles table.” That was just the beginning. Rosemont’s chefs met every two weeks for almost a year, collaborating with the resident building and dining committees to get every detail just right.

A Dramatic Transformation

Rosemont’s community of older adults has inspired a bold new dining program that’s fresh and fun. The stylish open dining room is a major transformation, moving cooking stations out front and bringing a theatrical flair to every meal. While aspects of the exposed kitchen feel like home, there’s also heightened drama, from the sweep of polished wood beams to the iPads the waiters use to speed up ordering at dinner. The artful blending of natural stone, polished wood and gleaming granite surfaces is elegant enough for fine dining, yet relaxed enough for breakfast.

The best part of the new design, according to Executive Chef Ron Andrews, is “how much the residents enjoy interacting with the chefs. At breakfast, we make custom omelettes. At lunch, pizzas, pastas, Asian stir fries and salads are made to order. We’ve also done Sunday brunches with a carving station. That extra ‘wow’ factor adds a lot to the overall dining experience.”


Faster, Fresher & Healthier

Because every meal at Rosemont is prepared fresh and selections change daily, the chefs tailor each menu to what’s in season. “We use only cage-free eggs and sustainable seafood, no trans fats, and as much locally grown and organic produce as possible. We season with fresh herbs instead of salt. And most of our pastries are made and baked in our kitchen,” said Musselman. “While the focus is on healthy cuisine, dining at Rosemont is all about choice. Our menu allows the residents choice of when they want to eat grilled salmon, and when they want to indulge in a double serving of mac and cheese. The key is to make richer dishes and desserts worth every calorie. We offer great choices at both ends of the spectrum.”

Rosemont’s new Platinum Service: putting on the Ritz

Talking to Chefs Chris and Ron, it’s obvious that both men are passionate about their work, and about the residents they serve. Chris put it this way: “As chefs, we take pride in connecting with the residents through our cooking. But we strive to make a difference that goes beyond cuisine. That’s why we’ve introduced a new Platinum training program modeled after the Ritz Carlton’s “Five Star” service, designed to build a culture of exceptional customer care,” said Musselman.

“From the moment our residents come through the door, we make sure they’re welcomed. We emphasize the little things: a smile, making eye contact, a warm greeting at their table…anticipating their needs. We remember their preferences, and cater to restricted, gluten-free and vegan diets. We also try to satisfy each special request. One of our residents loves pickled herring. He’s the only one, but we get it for him. It makes him happy. If residents give us their own recipes, we make the dishes for them,” said Musselman.

Clearly, chefs of this caliber would be right at home in a fine restaurant or hotel, but for Andrews, it’s all about relationships. “Here at Rosemont, we become friends with the residents we serve,” said Andrews. “I love it when a resident tells me a certain dish tasted like their mother’s cooking, or reminds them of a meal at a favorite restaurant. I was very close with my grandmother, and I chose this field because I like making the older generation happy. They’re very warm and appreciative. At the same time, I love mentoring the young people on our culinary team. They’re so proud to be part of this great step forward. Seeing the respect they pay our residents, and their sense of responsibility for providing such a high quality experience, is endlessly satisfying. I love coming to work every day.”