Jonathan Carafa is the new Executive Chef at Kendal on Hudson. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary and Business. Prior to joining Kendal on Hudson, Jonathan was an Executive Chef for various corporate companies. He became a Traveling Executive Chef, during which time he worked in Seattle, Las Vegas, and California. Jonathan has had a great deal of achievements, most notably the young age at which he became an Executive Chef.
Jonathan knew that he wanted to be a chef very early on in his life. As a young boy, he would slip into his uncle’s restaurant, where he was given the opportunity to play with his food and experiment. It was then that Jonathan’s creativity began to bloom. Jonathan’s plate became his canvas. “I want to paint a beautiful picture with my food”, he said. “I want to give people something they’ve never seen before.” Jonathan’s creativity spans into many different outlets, including art and graffiti.
Why Kendal on Hudson?
What drew Jonathan to work in a Continuing Care Retirement Community like Kendal on Hudson? His answer, “It’s a challenge – creating new food every day and every week – everything is scratch made.” Jonathan thrives on being challenged each day. He knew when accepting the position that there would be a great deal of challenges, from creating flavorful dishes without the use of salt, to creating an ever-changing menu for a large group of residents with highly advanced palettes! Each day, he strives to improve, change, and expand both on his abilities and the dishes he creates for the residents. He says, “We are not serving healthcare food. We’re serving gourmet food at restaurant quality.”
Less than a year at Kendal on Hudson, Jonathan has already made changes and improvements in the kitchen. He takes suggestions from residents, and is inspired by articles, videos, and food trends. He says, “I can’t fall behind in trends, because I want to provide the residents the best and most exciting foods.” Jonathan orders fresh produce daily, and cuts no corners with frozen or pre-made foods. The residents love his eclectic cooking style, as well as his artfully plated dishes.
The Future of Dining
Jonathan says that his ultimate goal is “for this community to be the best of the best – to have the best team, produce the best food, and be the flagship account for others to turn to as an example.” He works with an exceptional team to bring residents and staff alike to the table to enjoy a delicious, scratch-made meal. Jonathan is constantly growing, always studying and testing new trends and ideas, and competing with other chefs.
Jonathan has been a delight to have at Kendal on Hudson. He is enthusiastic and most importantly, passionate about his food and those he serves it to. He says “I want to make a difference in the culinary world, change the outlook that people have on the food at retirement communities.” Residents will agree that he has already made a great difference.
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