Introducing Chef Mary at Alsana Treatment Center at Monarch Cove
What do you love most about working at Monarch Cove?
Being able to utilize the creativity and artistry of cooking to develop my craft on an ongoing basis is something that I’m grateful for every day. What I love most about working at Monarch Cove is that I’m able to use that daily inspiration to nourish our clients and be instrumental in developing or restoring their relationship with food.
What made you decide to become a Chef?
I’ve always been someone who wanted to cook. I spent many years preparing dinners for holidays, gatherings with family and friends, or any occasion that I could think of. When I moved on to cooking for people in a professional capacity, it was a part of me that evolved into something that I could no longer not do. Over the years, my cooking has evolved into preparing food for people on more of a personal basis, so to be able to help someone in their recovery makes my heart very happy.
What is Alsana Cooking Experiences: Balancing Nourishment and Pleasure and how has it helped our clients?
Alsana Cooking Experiences is a part of our Life Skills program, to help our clients develop practical, real-life kitchen knowledge and skills with meal planning and preparation. Each week one client comes into the kitchen and works with one of our experienced Chefs to assist with dinner preparation. The session lasts for one hour and can include anything from assembling salads, preparing desserts, helping cook, chopping and preparing ingredients — anything involved in organizing and preparing a balanced meal.
Alsana Cooking Experiences program can help our clients soften or remove “taboos” surrounding food preparation, learn how to use everyday kitchen equipment, learn the fundamentals of how to organize and create a balanced meal, practice kitchen/cooking skills that they already have, and develop ideas about food combinations. It helps clients know that they can come into a safe environment, with no pressure, and be exposed to food in a hands-on, practical way.
Our clients are able to be creative and prepare food for their peers. This not only gives them experience with food preparation, but also a sense of accomplishment that they can revisit and bring with them as they transition into their recovery and life beyond residential treatment.