When Chef Jeff LaBounty accepted the position to run Sagewood’s dining experience, he had a specific goal in mind to create daily high-quality dining experiences for the residents. This meant, according to LaBounty’s standards, that every meal at Sagewood would be freshly cooked with ingredients sourced from Utah’s premier farmers, growers and vendors.

While this level of cuisine isn’t necessarily the norm at most senior living communities, Chef LaBounty believes that it is essential. “The Sagewood residents deserve quality meals with scratch cooking,” he explains. “The food you eat is the most important way you can ensure that you live a healthy and long life.” 

Fortunately, with his decades of experience in managing some of Utah’s most upscale restaurants such as St. Regis Deer Valley, 350 Main in Park City, and Canyons Ski Resort, LaBounty knew exactly how to achieve his objective. First, and most importantly, he consults with Sagewood’s residents. He meets with the new residents and asks them about their tastes, making sure that he offers options that will accommodate every dietary need and restriction—including lactose intolerant, gluten free and vegan.

Additionally, when LaBounty designs his seasonal dishes, he surveys the seniors to discover their dining wish lists. “I find out their favorite menu items, and then I go to work creating meals with seasonally available ingredients from local farms and vendors,” he says. “After I have created my dishes, I ask the residents, ‘What do you think?’”

Photo courtesy Sagewood at Daybreak

After completing this process, he will typically end up with a number of delicious and healthy options, with 16 or 17 items on the menu for lunch and dinner (including daily specials and house-made weekly soups) and between 12 to 15 items for breakfast. And, at LaBounty’s direction, every meal is cooked to order from scratch. During the pandemic, the community is offering room service to all residents.

LaBounty connects with the Sagewood seniors in other ways too. Prior to the pandemic, he offered cooking lessons and private dinner options to the independent living residents. Next summer, he hopes to engage the seniors in helping him to create an onsite garden to grow fresh herbs and vegetables. Also, he and his staff offer their services to make specially ordered cuisine for residents who host family parties in one of the community’s spacious common areas.

While making fresh, healthy and cooked-to-order meals three times a day can be challenging, LaBounty wouldn’t have it any other way. “This is an amazing opportunity. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” he says. “Every day when I wake up, I am glad to go to work.”

Have you ever considered what life is like at a senior living community? Located in South Jordan on a beautiful six-acre, 235,000 square-foot campus, Sagewood offers a full continuum of senior lifestyle options from independent living residences to assisted living apartments and memory care suites.

Visit lifeatsagewood.com or call 801-806-0636 for more information.