Delicious Dining at McLean: Get to Know Director of Dining Services Nicole Kaya

January 31, 2022

Food is one of our passions at McLean, and we work hard to create an excellent dining experience for our residents. The key ingredient in our ever-evolving recipe for success is Nicole Kaya, our creative and talented Director of Dining Services. Let’s get to know Nicole and the McLean Dining Program.

Nicole’s background

Nicole, who has more than two decades of experience in contract food services, has worked at several senior living facilities since 2015. She’s been a key player on multiple “opening teams,” creating and managing the implementation of creative culinary programs at new and expanding communities (just wait until you see what her team is coming up with for The Goodrich!).

Fresh, sustainable ingredients

A meal is only as good as the ingredients used to make it, which is why Nicole insists on using fresh, local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. “It’s important to me to partner with producers who share our values,” Nicole says.Her list of locally and Connecticut-sourced ingredients is impressive and includes everything from produce and dairy products to seasonal items, seafood and more.

Exclusive blends add spice to food—and life at McLean

Nicole and her team work with international spice purveyor Penzeys Spices to create signature spice blends to give each week’s menu flavor you won’t find anywhere else. “Our chef has a signature blend our residents absolutely love,” Nicole says.

Surprise trips around the world (of flavor)

The team has a great time planning and executing themed meals and celebrations. Nicole manned a Japanese-themed pop-up station serving spring rolls and sushi. “Our residents are really into international food, and we love to accommodate them.” Chefs cook international meals based on countries they choose, and they also hold cooking demonstrations in the Casual Café so residents can expand their own culinary skills.  

How the McLean Dining Program works

The Independent Living Dining Program, which includes 25 meals a month at any of McLean’s dining venues, is part of each resident’s monthly service fee. Additional meals are paid for on an à la carte basis. With full, modern kitchens in their apartments, most residents find that 25 meals work perfectly for them.

Delicious dining venues

Residents at McLean have great choices when it comes to dining experiences. The Burkholder Dining room serves dinner 6 days a week and Sunday brunch. Also coming soon at the Burkholder is the newly renovated Pub.  Breakfast and lunch are served à la carte in our Casual Café, where complimentary coffee and continental breakfast, including delicious fresh pastries, are available each morning. The Goodrich will feature options for casual and formal dinners as well as a private space where you can hold parties and entertain family and friends. Additionally, The Goodrich will have a dining area featuring chef display cooking and a pick-up station for to-go orders. For a change of pace, another delicious option is the restaurant at neighboring Hop Meadow Country Club, where all McLean residents enjoy a social membership.

Overall, Nicole believes that McLean’s dining experience is like no other. “We have a phenomenal culinary team and provide excellent customer service. We really care about our residents, and I think it shows.“

Hungry to learn more about dining at McLean and the exciting new venues coming to The Goodrich? Just give us a call at 860-658-3786. A member of our sales team will take you on a virtual tour of our new space and answer all your questions about our welcoming Life Plan Community. Bon appétit!

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