Lifestyle, Staff

Meet Chef Brad and Discover the Delicious Dining Experience at Blue Skies of Texas

At Blue Skies of Texas, our dining experience defies expectations of what’s possible at a retirement community. That’s because our culinary program is based on innovation and accommodation to all tastes and styles. From southwestern cuisine to Italian and everything in between, we serve it all authentically. It can all be attributed to our experienced and creative chef, Brad Sanford. Get to know Chef Brad and more about the dining program at Blue Skies.

Brad’s background: Serving food across the United States

Although he is originally from Texas, Brad’s culinary experience started on the East Coast, specifically Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. Brad studied computer science in college and installed point of sales systems in restaurants around Washington, DC. That’s when one restaurant asked him to bartend. He accepted the job and “fell in love with the service industry.” He explained, “Fresh seafood started my love for food. I always watched the cooks, took tips from them, asked questions and then eventually transitioned to the back of the house.” After several years, Brad moved back to Texas where he attended culinary school and then joined the Blue Skies culinary team. He’s been working with us for five years at both campuses and is currently the Executive Chef of Blue Skies.

How Brad crafts delicious dishes

Brad discussed how important it is to innovate with his food menu. “The Blue Skies residents have lived all over the world. They’re used to a certain quality of food. They’ve experienced authenticity, and we must be as authentic as possible. So, when we do dishes, we can expand our residents’ palettes.” Brad makes a point to create special, locally sourced meals for residents to enjoy.

Dining opportunities at Blue Skies

For our independent living residents, we offer a variety of different dining options. On the West campus, you’ll find the fantastic Main Dining Room and The Bistro. The Main Dining Room features something for everyone. With our fresh, curated daily specials, residents can experience culinary delights from around the world. Meanwhile, at The Bistro you’ll find milkshakes, cheese trays, burger specials and more. This casual dining venue is perfect to bring a friend or a good book while enjoying your quick meal.

At the Blue Skies East campus, you’ll find the Cochran’s Bistro and the Sky Lounge. In the distinguished Cochran’s Bistro, you can enjoy perfect early morning coffee or a delicious omelet. The restaurant is a fast-casual type of service, making it perfect for on-the-go retirees. At the prestigious Sky Lounge, you can enjoy cocktails and companionship with your like-minded neighbors. Brad said, “It’s an upscale, fine dining atmosphere with everything cooked to order with an elevated food menu. Up there, I’m doing filet mignon, shrimp scampi and more,” Brad said with a smile.

At the start of the pandemic, Blue Skies began to offer delivery to residents for a safer dining experience. Although dining venues continue to open and close based on the current COVID climate, Brad explained the mindset and behavior pattern of residents has shifted. They continue to enjoy the socialization that dining rooms provide, while they are ordering delivery and take-out more often. Residents can easily grab a hot meal from any of our on-site restaurants and enjoy them in the comfort of their Blue Skies home.

Brad clearly states that he and Blue Skies of Texas care about keeping residents’ food safe. “With Blue Skies, we can track what we purchase, where it comes from, down to when it was processed.” That way, you can rest assured knowing your food is always fresh.

How the Blue Skies dining program works

Residents have a dining credit as part of their meal plan that can be used in any of our restaurants. Brad explained, “It’s enough to include one meal a day, 30 days a month. Everything is priced out accordingly like a traditional restaurant. Our independent living residents have kitchens in their homes, so they don’t have to come eat every day. Residents are provided a variety of choices regarding their meals, mealtimes and how they spend their money.” In fact, Brad remarked that some residents even visit the other respective campus to enjoy the excellent dining experience across all Blue Skies’ dining options.

Residents are welcome to provide feedback on the many dining options through comment cards, social media and even personally speaking to Chef Brad. Brad enjoys getting very direct feedback from residents. He said, “Personally, I try to walk the dining room, especially during large events. I can gauge an instant reaction of what’s working. I think the real time data is a lot better than waiting a few days.” This feedback, in turn, helps Brad create more delicious dishes for Blue Skies residents.

If you’re wanting a taste of the fantastic cooking Brad and his team provides, consider retiring at Blue Skies of Texas, where you’ll find relaxing amenities, a welcoming community and beautiful apartments. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters again—our homes are maintenance-free, meaning you will have more time to spend getting to know your neighbors. If you’re interested in enjoying a delightful retirement with enticing dining options, contact us at (866) 553-5389.