Ask both peers and staff about their favorite part of the Perry Wellness Center day, and they are likely to mention lunchtime, thanks in part to the efforts of Hannah Blaisdell-Hunter, a gifted kitchen and dining room staff member who has prepared meals professionally for several years. The Serv-Safe certified cook comes by her culinary skills naturally. Her father is a professional chef and her aunt was a professional cook in several states.
“I have been cooking since I was two years old,” Hannah explains. “My maternal grandmother took time with me and showed me the correct way to achieve the best taste in foods. Cooking is in my blood.”
Hannah likes the challenge of making healthy foods taste even better, noting, “I think I must realize that people eat what they like best. At Perry Wellness Center, I have prepared different flavors in an otherwise typical dish.”
When asked what gives her dishes a unique flavor, she replies, “Spices make the food. I like cayenne, garlic and onion powder, olive oil, salt, pepper, and secret combinations that make my dishes even better. Many like the flavor of collard greens, my favorite vegetable.” With a broad smile, Hannah states, “If I told you my secret recipe for collard greens, I would have to kill you!”
While Hannah appreciates the value of a culinary education, she looks within for much of her inspiration: “A degree and more intense training are important, but you cannot find the passion for cooking food in a textbook.”
In her work, she places a top priority on kitchen cleanliness, saying, “I challenge my staff and help to maintain a clean environment and a clean food preparation area.”
Somehow this gifted individual’s training, passion, and work habits come together to provide a delicious meal experience for all who frequent the Perry Wellness Center cafeteria. We look forward to seeing Hannah’s gracious smile as she welcome peers and staff each day to her kitchen.