Wellmore of Tega Cay, a premier healthcare retirement community, recently celebrated adventure through a dinner inspired by Cecil Lathan’s story of earning his pilot’s license while running out of fuel in the air. The dinner was part of the retirement community’s new dining program called “Every Menu Has a Story.”
Every Menu Has a Story is a collection of distinctive dining experiences hosted each month with menus designed to pay homage to a curated selection of life stories submitted by residents. Director of Dining Services Gary Black describes it as “an edible encyclopedia of the human experience.”
“Cecil’s story of flying while running out of gas in extreme wind has intrigue, adventure and triumph,” said Executive Chef Alex Feldman. “For the menu, I wanted to capture all of those emotions and bring Cecil’s plane ride to life for the other community residents and dining team.”
Wellmore residents knew they were in for a ride before even entering the dining room as the hallway that leads to the dining room transformed into a plane runway. Model planes and pictures of Lathan were placed throughout the dining room to help residents connect with the story. Even the dining team got in on the highflying action by dressing as classic pilots with aviator goggles and scarves.
For the first course, Feldman was inspired by Lathan’s ability to recite poetry and modeled the course after “The Walrus and The Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll. Members enjoyed the appetizer of crisp fried oysters on pumpernickel toast points with zesty apple chutney. The “Homeward Bound” course reflected Lathan’s desire for home cooked meals after serving in the military. Feldman created a fun twist on a classic dish with fried chicken salad. This dish included a fresh fried green tomato topped with a savory fried chicken salad and potato straws. For the entrée course, Feldman wanted members to take a wild trip in the clouds like Lathan did by offering choice of barbecue boar with southern-style green beans and macaroni and cheese and seared catfish with a cheddar grit cake and collard greens. Since Lathan ran out of gas while flying, Feldman wanted to ensure that members do not experience the same trouble with the coffee infused crème brulee dessert.