Blog | June 7, 2022
Fine Dining at Trico LivingWell
Chef Liana is the Executive Chef at Trico LivingWell. With a vibrant, award-winning career in the food industry spanning decades, Chef Liana is passionate about creating space in the kitchen for everyone. Here, she shares her start in a tough industry, her passion for crafting delicious food, and what it means to be a true change-maker.
When you move to the city from a small town, you’re bound to be shocked by the changes. The buildings are bigger. Everything’s faster. There are so many more faces around you, but none that you recognize. When I moved from Smithers, BC to Edmonton, AB, ready to start a career in the food industry, there was change all around me.
When I started my career, the culinary industry was not an inviting environment for women. I had this idea of creating change, sparked by my own experiences in the kitchen and my vision of what a kitchen could become. I decided then that if I was ever in a position of authority, I would make it a position of change – and I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity and support to make that happen. As the first female Executive Chef at the Calgary Petroleum Club, and with the support of management, I was able to create a safe space for women in the kitchen.
I had been cooking for my whole life, but I’d never realized how male-dominated the industry was. In fact, that’s why I started wearing my signature bright pink uniform. I wanted to bring my own identity and femininity into the kitchen, where it’s easy to get lost among the line cooks. Years later, it is my mission to carve out an inclusive and diverse space for everyone in this industry, where anyone can feel safe and welcome to create.
I had a lot of great chefs who worked to create change alongside me. Aside from making the kitchen more inclusive, I wanted to use ingredients that were locally sourced, so I began working with the Department of Agriculture, partnering with small, local farms and getting their produce onto plates. Farm-to-table wasn’t very common at this time, but it was something I believed in and wanted to incorporate. When you think local, you bring communities together. Throughout my career, it’s always been about making healthy, delicious food from real ingredients, and I’m excited about bringing that same mission to Trico LivingWell. I like to say that we use knives – not boxcutters – when we’re cooking. Beginning with quality, local ingredients allows us to create fresh, delicious meals.
It’s no doubt that senior living is a different dimension of cooking than I’ve previously experienced, but there is something incredibly special about it, too. I went to Toronto with Grace Su, the Executive Director at Trico LivingWell, to source out dinnerware such as double-handled mugs, and bowls with higher lips, that are not only beautiful, but also reduce spills and are easier to grasp. We want to ensure that in our plating, the artistry and the fine dining experience are still there, especially in dementia care.
This is my first time working in an older adult residence, and I’m really excited to be serving this community. Every aspect of the dining experience at Trico LivingWell has been curated, down to the fork you’re eating with. It is a truly elevated dining experience, with so many different options, such high nutritional value, and food that celebrates life and the dining experience. When it comes to dining, it’s the customer’s experience that matters most to me, so I’m excited to showcase our artistry on a plate at Trico LivingWell. We are going to ensure that every single bite is beautiful, so you can Love Your Days.