Sometimes you only have to look as far as your employees to find hidden talents. Mitchell Liebman is a maintenance employee at the Gray Plunkett Jydstrup Senior Living facility who loves to cook.
Mitch realized that he liked to cook when he was seven years old and working in his father’s deli. At the age of eight, he read an article about a Black Hat chef named Gustav Mahler. The black hat symbolized a strive towards excellence and Chef Mahler was one of only five Black Hat Chef’s in the world at that time. Mitch realized his dream when he attended Le Cordon Bleu Cooking Academy. He graduated in 2003, which was the first graduating class in Las Vegas. He specialized in Kosher and Japanese cuisine. Mitch’s dreams were dashed when an unfortunate accident rendered him unable to cook professionally anymore.
Mitch’s love of cooking still burned deeply within him and it wasn’t before long that he came up with a “Cooking with Commodities” class for the senior citizen residents of Gray Plunkett Jydstrup Senior Living.
There are two commodities programs delivered to the residents of Gray Plunkett Jydstrup Senior Living and both are federally subsidized USDA programs. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) works to improve the health of low-income elderly persons at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA foods. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides non-profit distribution sites commodities for redistribution to low-income families. Recipients must meet state and federal guidelines. Both programs are administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Division in Nevada.
The variety of these foods distributed to the seniors through the commodities programs come with no explanation on how to use or cook with them. And many of the residents trade food amongst themselves as a majority of them don’t use 100% of the food that is administered. To help residents maximum their food options, learning new ways to cook with nonperishable items became the basis of Mitch’s Cooking with Commodities class. He wanted to help residents understand that with these ingredients, they can make a variety of dishes without those commodities going to waste.
Mitch’s first class focused on making a yummy Biscuit Beef Stew and Pasta Pie. During the demonstration, Mitch provided calorie counts, sodium and sugar information on the dishes and also explained how to freeze the cooked dishes so that they would hold in the freezer for up to 30 days. The residents who attended the first demonstration liked it so well that they requested the class be held monthly. We can’t wait to see what recipe Mitch will demonstrate next month!
Gray Plunkett Jydstrup Senior Living is professionally managed by Eugene Burger Management Corporation’s Las Vegas District.