A Passion for Pastries

Shana Schaefer is a woman of impeccable taste. As a Pastry Chef at Singh’s Waltonwood Carriage Park, taste is just one part of the job.

Before she joined the Singh family at Carriage Park, Shana was working a stressful restaurant job after being a stay-at-home mom for 16 years. Looking for a better work-life balance and wanting to spend more time with her kids, she left that stress behind and found her calling at Singh.

For over a year now, Shana has been serving residents tasty treats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With experience in the stressful outside culinary world, Shana sat down with us to discuss how working as a Pastry Chef at Singh compares to the restaurant world.


What attracted you to Singh?


“It was actually the retirement community itself that attracted me. I saw several places where my grandparents had been–they weren’t very good places–but when I walked into Singh it was by far the best retirement community I had ever been to in terms of cleanliness and friendliness. I knew as soon as I walked in that this was the place I wanted to be because of their high standards and the importance they place on integrity.”


Why should chefs and other culinary professionals work for Singh?


“I think Singh is very family oriented, they understand that your job is not your life–you love doing it, but they understand that you have to go home and be a mom too. I like that it’s not overly demanding and you aren’t here for fourteen hours a day; you get to enjoy your life while enjoying your work life. Singh really helps create a nice balance, and they appreciate their employees and a lot of culinary places don’t.”


Why is being a chef at Singh better than the restaurant world?


“I definitely get a lot more say in what I can do here at Singh. The executive chef, along with the corporate chef, might throw you some ideas, but they allow you to take that idea and twist it into anything you want. I get a lot more freedom here than I have anywhere else.”


What’s the most fun part of your job?


“The ability to be creative is definitely the most fun part, but there’s so much more that I enjoy. I actually do cookie decorating with the seniors and different activities like that, so being able to interact with seniors is another one of the fun things I get to do as part of the Singh family.”


What’s your favorite dessert to make?


“Oh gosh, that’s a hard one. I used to always say brownies just because it was nostalgic for me because my dad loves brownies, but I just love playing around. I love taking something old and making it new or taking leftovers from the savory side that I can turn into a dessert.”


What’s the culinary team like?


“They’re great! They give me accolades all the time, which is really nice. They love tasting all of my creations and they tell me how good they are, so I don’t go a day without being told that the work I’m doing is wonderful. The entire team is very supportive, if I ever need anything they help me out.”


How does it feel to work somewhere that helps make a difference in the lives of their residents?


“I love being able to know that the residents are enjoying desserts and they’re not just getting boxed stuff for food that’s pre-made. Especially with seniors, the last sense to go is their sweet sense, so it feels good to know that even though they have a hard time tasting other things, they can still taste my desserts.”


How does food play an important role in the overall care for residents?


“I think everyone would agree that food makes everybody happy. It’s also a nice social time for the residents because they get to socialize with the servers and the chefs–everyone seems to always be in a good mood whenever they’re in the dining room.”

What would you say to chefs in the restaurant world to get them to switch to a culinary role at Singh?


“I definitely think that people who are tired of the culinary/restaurant world would thrive at Singh. You don’t really make a difference in that world on a day-to-day basis, and we really do here at Singh. Whether it’s making sure we have sugar free desserts or making something that a resident requested–sometimes residents will come up to you and say, ‘I want a lemon meringue pie’–it feels good to know we are still giving them fulfillment that they need.”


Can you describe the ideal candidate to join the culinary team at Singh?


“It’s someone who definitely wants to make a difference in seniors’ lives and someone who takes pride in their work–not just the end product but pride in all of it. Whether it’s helping break down boxes or putting away dishes, we are a team and it takes a team to work a kitchen.”


If you’re ready to leave the stressful restaurant world behind and find a career where your creativity is encouraged, apply today and join our culinary team!

Called to Serve at Singh with Susan Zagorski
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