Everyone has a favorite recipe, a favorite holiday tradition and most certainly a favorite holiday story. Luke Campbell, Springmoor’s new Director of Dining is already making preparations for the biggest meal his staff will serve all year.
Thanksgiving at Springmoor is by far, he says, “is the most popular meal served on campus.” Serving 400 to 500 residents and their families is on his calendar for November 24. Asked if he will cook when he gets home, he laughs. “After working with food all day, it’s usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I get home.” On Thanksgiving, however, he will cook for his wife, his son and their dog. He was quick to add, that the dog always gets a bite or two. His extended family gathers the day after Thanksgiving and while he will help a little, it’s most often his mom and his sisters that are in the kitchen.
His love of cooking began with his mom. When he was a child, she was determined to teach him how to be self-sufficient. Teaching him to wash his own clothes, cook for himself and handle the other basics was very important to her. He loved watching her in the kitchen. He remembers when he was 10; she bought him a hot plate so he could make his own French toast without having to turn on the big oven. When he was 15, he started his first job in the restaurant business. Now, he cooks on the weekends. He loves to make things from scratch and Sundays are usually a day to prepare foods for the week. Does he watch the cooking channel? “Oh, yes.” Bobby Flay is his favorite chef. And as for comfort food, nothing beats “a New York style pizza, no special toppings, just the delicious hand-tossed crust and cheese!”
Working with a staff of thirteen full production chefs, he is bringing new changes to the menu options. The Premium Entree menu has been spiced up with new recipes. The assortment of seafood and the Filet Mignon will delight anyone dining with us. The new Appy Hour on Wednesdays serves delicious tavern-style appetizers to a packed house each week. This week, with his help, the Wine and Cheese Social had a great selection of wines hand chosen for the cooler fall temperatures and paired with a large assortment of cheeses. His staff is planning a special event for the Marketing Department this month – A Chef Event – using the popular new “deconstructed” cooking style. This creative style takes a familiar recipe using the same ingredients and prepares the food in a new form. It preserves the taste and enhances the flavors of your favorite dishes.
The Dining Staff offers catering services for our residents and their families. Special events are held throughout the year for Garden Clubs, Bridge Groups, Birthday and Anniversary events. November and December are always their busiest months. Special private dining rooms are offered for these gatherings. The Resident Life Department has a long list of events during the season too that will have food as well as entertainment.
Asked what his favorites are in the kitchen and at Springmoor, Luke was quick to say with a big smile, “the residents are the best part of my job. If I could do it over again, I would have started in this industry at the beginning. They have made me feel so welcome. Seeing them everyday and learning what they like and dislike can be a challenge but it keeps me motivated to do my best. I know they are coming back again tomorrow.” Luke arrived on campus to find four new convection ovens – a wonderful surprise and a great way to begin!
From the oldest recorded “working tavern” in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia (where records from the tavern go back to the 1800s), Luke brings with him one of his favorite recipes. The Brugh Tavern on the Blue Ridge Parkway sold this soup to its customers by the gallon during the holiday season. His favorite Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Bisque will be the talk of the day!
With eight kitchens, three dietitians and a wait staff of over 35; preparing 26 turkeys and 180 pounds of sweet potatoes for his Springmoor family is a tradition he hopes to continue for years to come.
Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Bisque
- 2 Butternut Squash
- 1 Onion (small diced)
- 2 Carrots (shredded)
- 3 tbsp. Butter
- 1 c. Dry Sherry
- ¼ cup Chicken Stock (Paste) or 1 ½ qt. Chicken Broth –Liquid (Vegetable Stock/ Broth can be used for Vegetarian option)
- 5 whole Cloves
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1 tsp. ground Nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground Allspice
- 4 Bay Leaves
- ¾ c. Brown Sugar (another ½ cup can be added for sweeter version)
- 2 c. Heavy Cream
- ½ c. Pumpkin Puree
- 2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
Cut your squash in half lengthwise, place flat side down on a greased baking pan, place in 425 degree oven for an hour (up to hour and half), until soft to the touch and squash is caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool, scoop out seeds, discard, scoop remaining flesh out of the skin and place in food processor (or blender) set to puree. Melt butter in large stockpot and carrots and onion, heat over medium high heat until caramelized. Deglaze the pan with Sherry and continue to simmer, add chicken stock or broth and butternut squash puree. Season with cinnamon, clove, bay leaf, nutmeg, kosher salt and allspice. Stir and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove bay leafs; clove, and cinnamon, add Pumpkin puree, heavy cream, and brown sugar, continue simmering for additional 15-20 minutes. Add any additional seasoning to your taste.
You can add homemade croutons, crème fraîche, or shredded white cheddar if so desired. Enjoy!