The PARC Food Philosophy: Retirement Living Done Deliciously

in Independent Living

Written by PARC Retirement Living

PARC Chef sitting with plate of food

Active living is baked into everything we do at PARC. And a huge part of this lifestyle is what we eat: nutrient-rich yet appetizing, beautifully plated food. To say our residents eat well is quite an understatement!

Food is so important to the PARC experience that it’s a key pillar of PARC Active Living™, our unique senior-wellness program, geared to enriching the body and the mind through physical fitness, social pursuits, emotional health and, yes, nutritious meals for seniors. But beyond dietary health, we believe food should be an experience – and a true delight.

This is why we recruit elite and Red Seal chefs from the restaurant and hotel industries to lead our culinary teams. As a result, PARC residents can sit down to fine dining that rivals restaurants in B.C., alongside tasty casual and classic fare that reminds them of their favourite dishes from home.

plated parc dinner

Independent living with culinary pedigree

Whether they’re whipping up inspired seasonal menus or special à la carte offerings for occasions like Easter or Thanksgiving, our chefs put passion, talent and artistry into every creation.

Oceana PARC Executive Chef Shaun MacLean is such a great example of this. His culinary journey began in 2005 with an apprenticeship at Coast Hotels and Resorts. From there, he honed his craft as Chef de Partie with Fairmont Hotels, and Senior Chef de Partie at the Pan Pacific Hotel, before joining the PARC’s White Rock location in 2021.

It was a chat with some chef friends over golf that first piqued Shaun’s interest in the senior-living industry. They had made the move over from hospitality themselves, and said they were loving it. He was intrigued, so when he saw a position open at Oceana PARC, decided to apply. Ever since, he has been wowing PARC residents with his culinary creations.

PARC has a lot in common with high-end restaurants, says MacLean. “You have a high calibre of food, creativity and service. We attract really great cooks and servers here.” But there’s a key difference, too: close bonds are formed through daily contact with residents. At PARC, we see familiar residents all the time, so we get to build relationships, and it’s a lot more rewarding,” he says.

Menu planning looks a little different at PARC, because of those close relationships. “I base our menu seasonally, considering what my suppliers are offering and what’s fresh – but it’s also about what residents like and what they want to be eating,” says MacLean.

Meals are customized to seniors’ unique nutritional needs, too, with a healthy balance of nutrients. “It’s up to our chefs to make sure that residents are getting the right amount of protein and vegetables. We can tailor portion sizes, provide vegetarian or other food options to meet the needs of our residents.”

PARC Chef's Smiling

Highlights of a culinary career at PARC

Maclean makes so many delicious dishes for Oceana PARC residents and guests – what are his greatest hits? Residents seem to love his Chicken Cordon Bleu, home-style meatloaf and lasagna, he says. “It’s really about making sure those classic dishes are done really well, focusing on good flavour,” he adds. “Preparing these dishes from scratch takes a little bit more time, but our residents are always beaming when we serve them.”

At Oceana PARC’s Salish Sea Dining Room, one crowd favourite is the lamb rack, served in a red-wine reduction with potato pavé and roasted spring vegetables. “I was trained by a French chef so that’s about taking the style of food that I learned from him and applying it to what we do here. It’s been really well-received,” he says.

Another highlight of MacLean’s time at PARC came recently, when Oceana hosted an event for the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce and mayors. “We had about 110 people here and we did a full breakfast spread for them, with petite, hand-crafted sandwiches, avocado-and-tomato relish, fruit and fresh-baked pastries,” he says. “It’s fun to do events and invite the public, because it shows we’re here for our community, too.”

Your retirement years should be delicious! Learn more about the PARC Food Philosophy.