The table is set for company: Villeroy and Boch china, Hepp silverware, fresh flowers in a crystal vase. The wait staff is clad in impeccable white and black, and a dark-suited director of dining services greets many of the bejeweled diners by name.
At Aventura’s Classic Residence by Hyatt, dining is about more than food. It is intended as a sensual experience, complete with gourmet dishes and well-appointed surroundings. In this affluent community, the Culinary Institute of America-trained chef faces three challenges: aging palates, health-related food restrictions and a demanding clientele accustomed to the finer things in life, including well-prepared meals.
“I must find the balance between certain health concerns and changing tastes and the variety and quality they are used to,” says executive chef Robert Ibgui, whose 24-member staff prepares about 500 meals a day.
Like wrinkled skin and waning eyesight, fading taste buds are an inevitable part of aging, but seniors could learn a lesson or two from Ibgui. Perhaps the most important: It doesn’t have to be complicated. A few changes in seasoning, a few ingredient substitutions, can jazz up any meal.