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Food. It’s a national obsession.

We post sumptuous displays of our latest meal on social media (rather distastefully known as “food porn”). We feast our eyes on multiple food networks and TV shows that make competitive sport of meal preparation. We purchase ready-to-cook fare featuring exotic products of which we’ve never heard. We take expensive cooking classes, invite professional chefs into our homes, and inflate our grocery bills at upscale markets with offerings labeled “organic, artisanal, farm-to-fork, haute, chef-driven, locavore” and any number of things ending in “arian.”

We also dine out more often than not, eating an average of four to five meals per week. American restaurant industry sales hit nearly $900 billion dollars in 2019, almost a four percent increase from the year before.

And we’re after more than a full tummy – we want an experience. Some even suggest that food has not only become an art, it has replaced it. “Nobody cares if you know about Mozart or Leonardo anymore, but you had better be able to discuss the difference between ganache and couverture,” remarked one opinion writer in the New York Times.

Foodism and its devotees, “foodies,” became known in niche circles of gastronomists in the 1980s. Today, it seems to apply to anyone who wants more than a plain burger and fries for dinner. While Millennials are credited with fueling the foodie culture, it was the Boomers who first proposed that people should pay attention to what they eat and how they eat it. As such, experts advise that the food industry should pay close attention to the wishes and capabilities of the Baby Boom generation.

Restaurants that succeed (rare in an industry in which 80 percent of them fail within the first five years) know that several factors must come together to create a great culinary experience. First is the food, of course. Customers require that it be delicious, fresh, at the proper temperature and requested preparation and, often, artfully presented. Healthy food options are increasingly important to in-house and to-go diners as well.

Next is environment – décor and ambience that is commensurate with the establishment’s dining style and menu options, followed by outstanding customer service. These are all the elements of dining programs in today’s premier retirement communities as well, Monarch Landing’s included.

In Naperville, Chicago and other suburbs, food is being celebrated in a weeklong event called Restaurant Week. Naperville’s Restaurant Week began January 24 and goes through February 8, featuring scores of local restaurants offering either prix-fixe menus at affordable prices or discounts on certain dishes.

At Monarch Landing, an exciting development has whet the appetites of residents and staff at our top-rated senior living community. The new culinary team of James “Jimmy” Blyther and Sean Curry, both vastly experienced in food and beverage at luxury hotels and restaurants, are whipping up some great things in our dining program. Interviewed by a committee of knowledgeable residents with perceptive palates, the two are beyond thrilled to serve as “personal chef” to everyone at Monarch Landing.

On top of what’s already an outstanding aspect of life at Monarch Landing, this is the icing on the cake!