July Dining with Luke Campbell
We are happy to introduce our new Food Service Director, Luke Campbell. He will join the Springmoor staff in mid-July. He comes to us with a long list of dining accomplishments. Kay Bullock, The Residents Association President, was part of the committee to meet Luke during one of his trips to Springmoor. Kay shares her Springmoor Herald interview with us for this week’s blog.
Springmoor Herald: What was your first job in the food industry? What sparked your interest in food service?
Luke: “My first job was a small little restaurant called ‘Martha’s Vineyard’. I was a busboy, at 15 years old. My older sister worked at the restaurant. She told me they needed help, and brought me to work with her. I liked the fact you always had ‘tip’ money, and also I immediately enjoyed the fast-paced environment.”
Springmoor Herald: Can you talk about how you train, supervise, and mentor employees?
Luke: “I am a ‘working’ manager, thus, I like to be on the floor of the dining room or in the kitchen so that I can observe all that is happening. The one advantage that I have in my career is the fact I have done EVERY job in the food and beverage industry, from washing dishes and cooking, to being a host and bartending. It gives me a well-rounded perspective on how a dining venue should operate. I find every moment is a teaching moment, whether to correct an impropriety or praise a staff member for a job well done. I take a great deal of pride in mentoring employees, as I feel one of my strongest attributes is developing people and putting them in a position to succeed.”
Springmoor Herald: What are some examples of some food service improvements/activities you began at Brandon Oaks that residents there really liked?
Luke: “Prime Rib Night, A Seafood Buffet, A Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings, and Tastes of the World—Italian Night, French Cuisine, Moroccan, and Chinese, to name a few. We also do a Cookout in The Courtyard during the spring, summer and fall. These programs were developed over several years. It will take some time to get to know Springmoor, so that I can develop programs that are best for my new community.”
Springmoor Herald: What are your three favorite foods? What food would you most hate giving up?
Luke: “Pizza (2nd place is not even close), Steak with Cracked Peppercorns, and almost any Kid’s Cereal. There are two reasons for the cereal: one, my mother would never buy them for me when I was young. And two: when I work around food ten to eleven hours of a day, when I get home, sometimes I just want a nice bowl of sweet cereal. And the item I could never give up would be bread. I would have a REALLY difficult time giving it up, so I am glad I don’t have an issue with gluten.”
Springmoor Herald: Well, this brings up another question. Many of our residents would like to eat a healthier diet. How can you help them?
Luke: “Having delicious fruits and vegetables, lean fish, poultry, and meats, as well as whole grains, can tempt most residents to make really good choices. At Brandon Oaks we have a Heart Healthy Choice and Fresh Fish of the Day and I hope to do something similar here.”
Springmoor Herald: What do you like to do when you are not working? Are there any specific activities or sports that you like?
Luke: “I was a history major, so I love reading or watching ANYTHING with historical context, with an emphasis on the challenging times in American history: Civil War Era, WWII, and Vietnam. I am a big believer in the George Santayana quote ‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ I am a sport’s fanatic. I will play or watch just about any sport. I was watching cricket for two hours the other day and I still don’t have the slightest concept of the rules of that game but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I also love to learn anything with regard to food. I am always trying to stay up-to-date with new offerings, techniques, and anything that will enhance my knowledge of what I do for a living.”
Springmoor Herald: Has there been an encounter with a resident at Brandon Oaks that made you know how much your work is appreciated?
Luke: “When a resident has a birthday we usually put a candle in the dessert and sing to them in the dining room. One day, as our staff was celebrating a birthday, a resident said to me in passing, ‘I remember I would always get a banana split for my birthday when I was younger.’ Well, two months later, when that resident’s birthday came around, we made him a big old banana split. He could not believe it, and told me, ‘I remember telling you that story but I never imagined you would act on it. You have made my day!’ He continued, ‘This is why I made the decision to move to Brandon Oaks, because of people who care, like you and your staff.”
FROM: Born and raised in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia
EDUCATION: B.A. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
WORK: General Manager of Dining for the last six years at Brandon Oaks Retirement Community, Roanoke, VA. He was the Operations Manager of Dining at Brandon Oaks for two years prior to his promotion to Director.
PREVIOUS WORK: Area Manager for Brugh Tavern Restaurants and Catering in Roanoke, VA. He oversaw three restaurants, two corporate cafés and a large catering business.
AWARDS: “Best New Restaurant” Platinum Award, Roanoker Magazine
FAMILY: Wife, Terri and Son, Dakota (21)
His resume is packed with successful achievements: A Resident Fine Dining Guide, a Heart Healthy Menu assortment and several winning menus in Culinary Contests. We are looking forward to all the wonderful ideas he will bring to the four dining rooms at Springmoor. We can’t wait to taste his new menu options, read his newsletter articles and see his expert management style in action. We welcome Luke to our Springmoor family!