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Sampling Seasonal Favorites with Chef Steve

Posted on October 4, 2018 in Staff Profile

To accompany the community’s dynamic senior lifestyle, Pennswood Village has a dynamic menu to match. At the helm as Pennswood’s Executive Chef for the past 13 years, Chef Steve Plescha makes sure that residents in the community’s dining room get a taste of every season.

Chef Steve Plescha keeps dining at Pennswood fresh

“As the weather changes in the fall, the dishes on our menu trend toward the savory, slow-cooked recipes,” Chef Steve said. “And in the spring and summer, the dishes we make tend to have a lighter taste, with items that are cooked using different techniques; braising, grilling, things like that.”

With the end of summer in mind, Chef Steve noted a few seasonal specialties for when the leaves begin to turn. These dishes are great for this time of year because they not only use the in-season cooking techniques that Steve mentioned, but also in-season vegetables, and they even pair well with dining al fresco:

  • A Vietnamese sandwich (similar to a Bánh mì) featuring a variety of vegetables and protein from either pork, filet mignon or grilled chicken
  • A Mexican torta sandwich with local ham from Stevensville, Pennsylvania
  • A Vegetarian Korma, a mildly spiced Indian dish featuring potatoes, carrots, cashews, curry, garlic and peppers

One meal that stays constant throughout the year — by popular demand —Is Pennswood’s “signature” Sunday meal. Chef Steve says that the Sunday menu features “more of a brunch feel.” Classics like eggs benedict accompany unique specialties such as a sour cream pancake with pecan butter.

Fine cuisine with a local (and regional) touch

Many of the vegetables that Chef Steve and his team use in the kitchen at Pennswood come from “right down the block” in the well-known community garden. For example, the culinary crew at Pennswood used a lot of tomatoes, zucchini, squash and herbs from the community garden in the dishes they made this summer. Although some of the ingredients come from just a walking distance away, a lot of the other ingredients that Pennswood uses are also locally or regionally sourced.

“Some of the best scallops in the world are from off the coast of New Jersey, and we use those in some of our summer recipes,” Chef Steve explained. “Fish is always at the forefront of our menus, and we source most of it from the Atlantic coast. In addition, all the chicken we use is free-range and from local farms.”

Connected to the community

Pennswood is proud to be a community of individuals, and celebrating our residents extends to the dining room as well. Residents freely send their recipes and recipe ideas to Chef Steve and his team, and they frequently take these suggestions and turn them into meals that serve the entire dining room – about 150 people.

“We will take an idea that a resident has and see how to expand the recipe from something that feeds six to eight people, to using elements of it for a meal that feeds 150,” Chef Steve said. “We’ll also take an idea from a resident and elevate it so, for example, if a resident or group requests burgers, we’ll use grass-fed Angus and local vegetables.”

Chef Steve also noted that Pennswood residents give their feedback on the food daily, and the dining services team members take the time to implement residents’ comments into the work they do. With 44 years in the industry, constant feedback helps keep Chef Steve on his toes.

“We always try to be a season ahead,” Chef Steve shared. “We’re already working on the winter menu!”

To experience the delicious tradition of fine dining at Pennswood Village, we would be happy to host you for a meal at our welcoming community. Simply click here, or call 215-504-1118 to schedule your visit!