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.
“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.”
It’s official! Dan Murray is now the Chief Executive Officer of Pennswood Village! Dan began his journey as CEO at Pennswood at the beginning of January 2018 and continues to settle in this month, energetically moving about the community, meeting every resident, staff member and committee.
Dan was originally attracted to the community because of the residents who call it home. “Pennswood has a real sense of community,” says Dan. “It’s warm, caring and supportive. It has a great culture to live in and work in and learn in.”
Before Dan came to Pennswood Village, he was the CEO of Friends Village at Woodstown for more than a decade. Friends Village is also a Quaker Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), located in southern New Jersey. During his time there, he helped the community grow from a nursing care-only community into a full CCRC by supporting the community through a significant expansion.
“It becomes part of your life,” says Pennswood Village resident, Bill Strong, about practicing yoga. “We are our own best doctors if we unveil ourselves to the opportunities we have here. It’s all a plus.”
Pennswood Village hosts four different types of yoga classes for residents to choose from including regular yoga, restorative yoga, chair yoga, and a combination of yoga, Pilates and tai chi (PiYoChi) in the swimming pool.
“When you finish your practice, you’re so relaxed,” says resident Jenny Hollingshead.
The regular yoga class is a mid-level class offered every week on Fridays, while the restorative yoga class is focused on gentle stretching, both on the floor and in chairs. Chair yoga is a yoga class that alters traditional yoga poses for those who wish to practice in a seated position, while in PiYoChi, participants are supported by the water.
It’s 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning in February. The snow is falling lightly and the members of the Landscape Department are warming up their vehicles, getting ready to begin a day with no end in sight. This is a day in the life of the Landscape Department during the winter season. They’re always on call no matter the time or day. With a bag packed with extra clothes, it looks like it’s going to be a big storm and the sleeping accommodations will be an empty apartment in the Gurney building.
Procuring the food and supplies for the Dining program at Pennswood Village is probably is not a topic of conversation at the dinner table. While residents and staff members happily dine at meal times, behind the scenes is a highly dynamic team effort that carries out the vital functions of ordering, receiving and storing the multitude of fresh food and supplies that arrive daily on our back dock.
Our Receiver, Chef and Back of the House Manager collaborate extensively to coordinate the 30 plus weekly food deliveries that help to nourish and sustain our residents and staff members.
The Perplexing Ordering Process
Blue, black, burgundy or purple polo shirts … These are the uniform colors of the Utility Staff of Dining Services that residents see all day and evening, walking the halls in Woolman, Barclay or the Village.
The Utility Staff is comprised of many bright young minds who strive to provide great service to all the residents, guests and their fellow co-workers. They are responsible for numerous and essential tasks throughout the Dining Services Department on a daily basis.
When residents hear “utility,” they think of dirty dishes! Each day the Utility Staff collect, wash, sanitize and store approximately 4300 pieces of silverware, over 5000 pieces of china and nearly 2000 pieces of assorted glassware. Our resilient pot washers hand scrub, rinse and sanitize between 1000 and 1200 pots, pans, sheet trays, and utensils daily to support the culinary team and department.
Pennswood Village is committed to providing a unique and exceptional dining experience for residents—and the foundation of this experience is the ingredients used in cooking the meals. Pennswood cares about the sustainability and quality of the food served. Strongly believing in the Quaker tenant that we are all stewards of the Earth, the talented culinary staff has a passion for curating meals that are fresh, seasonal and locally sourced whenever possible. They not only create delicious meals, but also help support community farmers and the greater environment.
One particularly interesting facet of dining at Pennswood Village is our fish. It is quickly becoming a talking point with fresh local and exotic fish being featured on the menu. With 42 years of culinary experience, Executive Chef Steve Plescha of Pennswood doesn’t just order all the fish, make recipes and cook. He also emphasizes the importance of locally sourced fish and the farm-to-table movement by always sourcing the fish responsibly so not only the residents get the best-tasting fish, but also so the oceans remain a stable ecosystem.
Pennswood Village is excited to officially welcome our new Director of Development, Susan Abtouche!
“Susan was a clear choice for us,” says Ben Hoyle, CEO of Pennswood. “I think she’s going to be a really great fit for Pennswood.”
Susan is now serving as a member of the Senior Management Team, and she will share in the responsibility of overall management and operation of Pennswood. Her main responsibility will be to oversee the planning and implementation of fundraising programs for the community.
This past October, Pennswood Village Dining Services Director Mary Cooley traveled to Minneapolis to attend the prestigious General Mills Champion Council. This council, held at the General Mills headquarters, is an opportunity for invited representatives from different areas of food services to gather and discuss issues, ideas, and solutions to industry related concerns.
For two days, Mary and nine other food industry professionals brought to the table their extensive knowledge and expertise, from hospitality services and restaurants, to hotels and corporate dining. It’s a great way for a variety of industry experts to solve the issues at hand.
“I’m really happy that I was able to participate,” Mary says. “It gives you a view into the industry, not only just my segment, but beyond that as well. It’s a chance to talk to my peers.”
There are many advantages to living at Pennswood Village. But, one of the most popular reasons retirees choose community living is the safety and security that comes along with it.
Fire Prevention Day was October 9, and a good day to recognize the many ways Pennswood Village prevents and prepares for emergencies under the guidance of Dawn Miller-Champalou, Pennswood’s Director of Corporate Compliance and Risk.
“We always plan for the ‘what if’ factor,” says Dawn.
Dawn has been working at Pennswood Village for the past 11 years in the areas of compliance, risk management, and overall safety programs and procedures. With 15 years of managing disaster relief with the Red Cross, Dawn has a strong background in emergency management.