Chef Dave and Natasha at White Sands Community

Bridging The Generational Gap: A Senior, A Chef, and A Story to Tell

The beauty of ‘ships – friendships, relationships, partnerships, is that they can start so unexpectedly. Take David B. and Natasha J. for example. The two met at Human Good’s White Sands La Jolla, the only beachfront retirement community located in the entire state of California. David, the community’s senior executive chef better known as Chef Dave, not only has a passion for culinary creations but also loves to write. Natasha, a resident at White Sands and published author, is known in the community for her giving spirit, caring heart, and for her willingness to lend a helping hand.

What began as a casual conversation in the community café over coffee and tea, morphed into a meeting of the minds. It was at that moment, Chef Dave knew that Natasha (and her seemingly effortless ability to wordsmith), would be the perfect partner to help him share his story.

Many culinarians and chefs in our communities build lasting connections with residents – usually over a shared love of cooking, mutual interest in unique cuisines, or special opportunities to create lasting memories like birthdays, anniversaries, or themed occasions. Food is a cultural cornerstone and has always united our team members with the residents in our communities. Chef Dave and Natasha’s budding friendship had a different cornerstone; one vested in storytelling.

The two began meeting weekly to dive into Dave’s narrative. Shortly after the meetings began, the pandemic hit, making connecting in person impossible. Determined to continue what they started, the two evolved their meetings to a virtual platform. While quarantined, these meetings gave them both a sense of purpose and happiness – especially Natasha who was isolated in her room in order to remain healthy.

Although decades apart, Chef Dave and Natasha are as close as can be. Their shared love of writing and storytelling has sparked a friendship riddled with jokes, great conversations, and a deeper understanding of one another. They’re both also learning along the way. Natasha has taught Dave how to ensure his writing is relevant and timeless for all generations. Natasha shares, “One of the best gifts one can give a person in her mid-nineties, like me, is to make them feel useful. Mentoring Chef Dave has given me this opportunity.” In turn, Natasha’s learned a thing for two from Chef Dave about the foodservice industry, menus, and operations.

Bringing generations together, sharing memories, and passing down treasured knowledge is what it’s all about. Dave’s relationship with Natasha reminds him of the bond he shared with his late grandmother. “I always had a very close relationship with my grandmother, and when she passed away there was a huge hole in my heart that will never be filled. Meeting with Natasha has helped me to not miss my grandmother so much.”

At Morrison Living, we lead with the mantra of being the best part of someone’s day. Doing so involves building relationships and learning from one another. Our residents become family as we learn about each other’s expertise, lives, and passions.

Find out more about what makes the Morrison Living Culinary Experience a unique one.