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The Secret Ingredient Behind Some of Naples’ Most Popular Restaurants

March 29, 2021

ChefStephenScott-2Famed chef Julia Child once said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.”

At Moorings Park Communities, the “best” people are surrounded by some of the finest chefs in Southwest Florida. One of them is Executive Chef Stephen Scott, who loves what he does and how he does it. 

How Chef Stephen and his culinary team approach making memorable meals is perhaps the secret behind how Moorings Park Communities’ restaurants have achieved such high standing among patrons who are accustomed to dining at Naples’ finest restaurants. “Not only are our restaurants as fine as anything you’ll find on Fifth Avenue, they are only available to residents of our communities and their guests. This combination of exclusivity and excellence has been one of the key reasons people move to our communities,” explains Tom Mann, Vice President of Moorings Park Communities.

Bringing Joy Through Food

“From the age of two, I gravitated toward the kitchen. My family always encouraged it and I was cooking dinners for my entire family by the age of nine,” recalled Chef Stephen. “By cooking for others, I’m able to share my passion for delicious cuisine. To bring joy to people through food is something I get a big kick out of.”

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami, Chef Stephen found himself working for some of the finest, upscale hotels, resorts and communities in South Florida. Taking his culinary skills to Moorings Park was always his dream.

“If you live in Naples, you know about Moorings Park and what they do for the community,” he said. “I’ve traveled from Spokane to Miami and nothing holds a candle to what Moorings Park offers in terms of amenities and food service. We’re producing roughly 1,300 meals a day. It’s a significant operation and I’m proud to be a part of it.” Chef Stephen continued, “I always wanted to be the best or be a part of the best company. At Moorings Park I get to do exactly that. It’s in their tagline: ‘Simply the Best®’.”

Where Creative Cuisine Meets Dining Delights

Moorings Park’s successful 40-year track record lies in its reputation for top-quality services with an intense focus on the wants, needs and desires of its residents. From its top executives to its extraordinary culinary teams, as well as its health and wellness teams, each and every partner – or staff member at Moorings Park Communities is focused on providing a personal level of service that far exceeds ordinary expectations. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the dining services at Moorings Park Communities. And it’s why the varied dining experiences you’ll find here rival many of the finest restaurants on Fifth Ave and Third Street South.

As we all know, food is often at the center of our daily plans. Deciding if we are going to eat in or dine out. Shall we invite a few family members over for Sunday night dinner or should we plan a night out with friends? Dining takes center stage in our community comaraderies, our social engagements and our daily activities.

Food is More Than Nutrition. It’s Personal.

Chef Stephen agrees. “I love that food is universal. Everyone eats and food preparation is a different and phenomenal way to connect with people. That’s why I love being a chef.” 

Creating, preparing and serving delicious, nutritious meals is only part of the job the chef loves. Meeting and talking with the community’s residents is another. 

“I worked at the Ritz-Carlton right out of culinary school. It was a fast-paced environment that prepared me for my current position at Moorings Park. However, one of the reasons I left there was because there wasn’t the opportunity to make connections like I can here,” Chef Stephen said. “At the Ritz, people would only stay for a couple of days and then be on their way. At Moorings Park you get to know the residents and become friends with them. Our residents are some of the most educated, well-traveled people in the world. They’re some of the biggest movers and shakers in Naples. Simply put, they’re some of the most interesting people I know.”

Friendships and Meals Go Hand-in-Hand

ChefStephenScott-1Whether it’s family or friends, many of us have created some of our favorite memories sharing a good meal. Those memories are made even sweeter when you’ve bonded with your chef. Chef Stephen notes, “When you’re able to connect with each resident, get to know them and their preferences, you create a genuine connection. They always enjoy their meals because you’ve made it special for them.” 

“Most of our residents make good choices about their food in terms of nutrition. You must take into consideration the sodium, fat content, etc. of all their meals,” he said. “You also have to take into consideration what medications they are taking. There’s a lot of nuances when it comes to cooking for Baby Boomers and you have to be mindful of that.”

“As a chef, I love that I get to do what my mom always told me not to do as a kid – and that is play with my food.”  

Chef Stephen’s Banana Bread Recipe

WET INGREDIENTS

½ Cup butter (1 stick)
4 Ripe bananas (smashed)
2 Eggs beaten
1 Tsp pure vanilla extract

DRY INGREDIENTS

2 Cups all purpose flour
½ Cup granulated sugar
½ Cup brown sugar
1 Tsp baking soda
½ Tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil standard loaf pan.

Gently fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Do not over mix or your bread will be tough and chewy. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake on the center rack for 40-50  minutes. To test doneness insert a toothpick into the center, if it comes out clean you are done. You can also use a probe thermometer and pull the bread once an internal temperature of 175°F is reached. The bread will continue to cook after coming out of the oven to reach 180°F.

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