As a fifth-generation Texan, Chef Stephan Pyles wants his cuisine to reflect his roots. That devotion to capturing the flavors of Texas led him to be known as the father of Southwestern cuisine and regarded as one of the most acclaimed American chefs of the past three decades.
Growing up in his family’s West Texas truck stop café, Pyles delighted in the smells of fried chicken and enchiladas – but as he watched travelers from around the country come together over the dishes prepared by his parents, he realized even at a young age that food is more than sustenance.
Food is community.
Inspiring community in Buckner senior living communities through food
That sense of community through food is what Pyles wants to bring to Ventana by Buckner.
“Seniors seem to have a greater sense of community than most other age groups,” Pyles said. “They seek a place to gather where they can nourish both their bodies and their souls with good food. I’m honored to help facilitate that.”
Buckner previously collaborated with the James Beard Award-winning chef to craft a new type of elevated dining experience for senior adults ahead of the opening of Ventana by Buckner in Dallas, Texas, in October 2019.
“I came to Ventana thinking it would be typical of my other consultancies, but I was most pleasantly surprised,” Pyles shared. “It’s been a richly rewarding experience on so many levels. Both the talented culinary team and the gracious members have been a joy to work with.”
“After almost four years with Ventana, I have developed an incredible respect for Buckner and have been made to feel part of the family."
Adding his culinary flair
Pyles will work with Ventana's culinary team to expand their menu with seasonal, local and fresh touches selected by Pyles. The menu will also include an array of signature dishes popular at many of Pyles’ 23 restaurants over the past 32 years. He will also create specialty international tastings and dinners and refresh Ventana’s beverage program to include inventive mocktails.
“While we have always been proud of the dining experience our communities offer, I am excited to see how a phenomenal chef of Stephan Pyles’ caliber is able to provide even more variety with an emphasis on fresher and more locally sourced ingredients," said Charlie Wilson, president of Buckner Retirement Services.
Added Pyles, “As we age, good food becomes more and more important. Food absolutely inspires happiness, and it makes such imminent sense that Buckner would have such a wonderful food program.”