Sitting beside one another in the personal care dining room at Paul’s Run, husband-wife duo, Bernie and Freda Samuels, enjoy a delicious chicken salad sandwich that Bernie made himself. A happily married couple for the past 30 years, Bernie and Freda’s special connection is not just evident, it’s admirable. Moving to Paul’s Run this past October, Mr. and Mrs. Samuels are thrilled with their new home. Enjoying the fulfillment of an active and independent lifestyle with the comfort of care available when they need it, it didn’t take Bernie and Freda long to feel right at home with the friends, families, and neighbors of this community. “We absolutely love it here,” Freda affirms.
Bernie and Freda previously lived in a 55+ community. When they first began searching for senior living communities with higher levels of care, they couldn’t seem to find a place with all of the amenities that they desired. Then, with perfect timing, Bernie’s daughter-in-law suggested they take a tour of Paul’s Run. “We had looked at several different places in the area, and this place was by far the best,” says Bernie.
One problem that especially bothered Bernie with other senior living communities was that the quality of food they served to residents really disappointed him. With his long-lived passion for cooking, Bernie refused to move to a community whose food and dining experience was anything less than exceptional, which is why it comes as no surprise that he and Freda chose Paul’s Run.
Bernie’s passion for cooking heats up…
Bernie’s passion for cooking first began many years ago after his late wife sadly passed away. “Freda and I are both in our second marriages,” he explains. Bernie’s first wife was an excellent cook. “Her food was delicious, but I was not allowed anywhere near the kitchen,” he laughs. “After she passed away, I would go to diners to eat,” he says disappointedly. “The food was alright, but it wasn’t long before it started to taste like cardboard.”
As food from the diner became unbearably boring, Bernie decided to do something about it. “I told myself, ‘I’m going to learn how to cook,’” he says determinedly. Bernie started watching cooking shows at home and his newfound culinary interests began to heat up. “I used to watch this German chef on TV, Chef Tell. He’d take a piece of plain meat and all he would do is pair it with a little onion and garlic and it would suddenly become delicious.”
After having seen professional chefs make cooking look easy, Bernie wanted to give it a try, and who better for a taste test than family? “I have two sons, and we’re Jewish,” Bernie explains. “I invited them over for a gathering and I made my own gefilte fish. By the time they were finished eating they said, ‘Dad, this tastes better than the fish Mom used to make,’” he smiles. “I thought that was a pretty nice compliment. So, I decided I’m going to cook more often.”
As Bernie took on his new-found passion, he began developing recipes of his own. Experimenting with numerous cuisines, Bernie enjoys cooking everything from his homemade lasagna and gravy, “that’s tomato sauce,” he explains, to one of his all-time favorites, his signature salmon (recipe pictured below). “It’s the best,” he says. “People used to say they’ve never tasted anything like it, and they’d ask me where I bought the fish from. I’d tell them, ‘it isn’t where the fish is from; it’s how I make it,’” he smiles. Bernie later taught cooking classes in the 55+ community where he and Freda used to live. “I liked teaching the classes. It worked out really well for me,” he says.
Bernie’s Signature Salmon Recipe
- 2 pounds salmon fillets (Bernie says kosher salmon is especially fresh)
- 1.5 Tbsp honey
- 1.5 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 Tbsp sesame seeds
- Pinch of salt
**Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- In a small bowl mix honey and mustard together.
- Place salmon in an oiled pan or sheet pan.
- Cover salmon completely with honey and mustard mixture.
- Then cover salmon completely with sesame seeds.
- Place pan in oven in broiler position (top rack).
- Bake for 5-6 minutes. Then turn oven off and place oven on BROIL. As soon as sesame seeds start to brown, remove salmon from the oven. Let fish sit for two minutes and serve.
Sharing Knowledge, Making Friends
Truly enjoying his experience teaching cooking classes in the past, Bernie has greatly enjoyed sharing his wealth of cooking knowledge with all of the friends, families, and neighbors of Paul’s Run.
Bernie remembers when he first met Executive Director of Paul’s Run, Bill Hines, and they immediately bonded over their common interest for food and dining. “When I told Bill about my cooking, he told me that they could use my recipes for new ideas in the dining room here,” Bernie says, beaming with pride. Bill talks to Bernie and Freda nearly every day, and they’ve developed a unique connection. “I always appreciate Bernie’s advice,” says Bill. “He and I talk a lot about food. We have great communication.” Bill says that just last week, Paul’s Run dining staff gave Bernie’s crab cake recipe a try and apparently it was a hit. “Those crab cakes were excellent,” Bill confirms.
The people are so kind here. We just love that they are so willing to listen. It’s absolutely wonderful!Freda Samuels, resident at Paul’s Run
As Bernie and Freda continue to make meaningful connections throughout the community, they truly appreciate the staff who take care of them. “The people are so kind here,” says Freda. “We just love that they are so willing to listen. It’s absolutely wonderful.” Willing and pleased to listen to Bernie’s knowledge of cooking, Paul’s Run staff greatly enjoy that Bernie never keeps his recipes a secret. “Whenever I share recipes here, people really appreciate it.”