Retirement Community Introduces Every Menu Has a Story

Wellmore of Tega Cay, a premier healthcare retirement community, recently celebrated love through their new dining program called Every Menu Has a Story. The dinner event centered around the love story of Mark and Helen Kapikian.

“The beauty of Every Menu Has a Story is that I am able to interpret a member’s story, like the Kapikian’s, and create an inspired menu that builds a personal, emotional connection with everyone at the community,” said Executive Chef Alex Feldman. “With the love celebration, we were able to bring the Kapikian’s legacy to Wellmore and build relationship between Helen, the dining team and the other members. Sadly, Mark passed away prior before anyone at Wellmore could meet him, but through this event we all feel personally connected to his life.”

Each month, members are asked to share their stories and experiences as they pertain to a given theme. Then, Feldman and the dining team will choose a story that inspires them to create a menu. After selecting the story, Feldman will interpret the menu by creating tasting notes, which demonstrate how the story inspired a particular dish. The process culminates in an event celebrating the month’s story through the inspired menu.

For the love event, the menu was infused with the key moments in the Kapikian’s relationship. For the cocktail reception, Feldman wanted to create an immediate link between the other members and Helen by serving sangria, which is her favorite drink, and spinach boereg, a traditional Armenian Hors d’oeuvre. After the reception, the members walked into the dining room under an archway of carnations. The archway was inspired by traditional Armenian weddings where the bride and groom enter the reception under a makeshift archway formed by the wedding party holding up flowers. For the first course, members ate Sevan Lake chowder, made with crawfish, fingerling potato, bacon, onion and celery in a creamy broth. This course combined Helen Kapikian’s Armenian and Massachusetts roots. The second course was inspired by the youth convention picnic where the pair started to fall in love. The selections of keufta, tourshi and humus in a bread bowl were served on a red and white checkered paper to mimic a picnic. For the third course, members had a selection of entrees typically served at an Armenian wedding including lamb kebabs served with couscous, crimson lentils and a red and green cabbage chiffonade, seared trout served with tabbouleh and squash, chick pea and tomato ragout, and slow-braised chicken served with rice pilaf and Swiss chard. The final course continued with the theme of the wedding while celebrating the sweet beginning it brought to the Kapikian’s marriage. Members were served a dessert sampling that included knafi, a phyllo basket with a creamy custard filling topped with raspberries and walnuts, cognac in a chocolate cup and a phyllo flower.

During the dinner, members enjoyed the live Armenian-infused music and looking at pictures of the Kapikian’s which were placed around the dining room.

“The event surpassed our expectations,” continued Feldman. “It was a joy to see the conversations and laughter throughout the evening. All of our members have stories to share and it will be a true joy to honor their legacies.”
The March event will be themed around adventure.