Avamere at Cascadia Village buffet

It looks like something straight out of a magazine. One chef at Avamere at Cascadia Village, an independent and assisted living community in Sandy, Oregon, goes all out for events and meals.

Myrna Casden, Director of Culinary Services, has a passion for decorating, cooking, and baking. Her work is truly a piece of art from the décor to the plating to the delicious food.

“I love when we have an event. I can put in my creativity. I can do it from A to Z,” Myrna said, as she shared how she enjoys planning events, setting up, and preparing the food.

Myrna displayed a live fish for their community Luau, which she said the residents loved. During a recent special event, Myrna prepared snacks and cookies.

No matter the occasion, she’s sure to create a beautiful (and delicious) display.

Myrna’s work with Gordon Ramsay

Before joining Avamere at Cascadia Village, Myrna worked at The Mirage hotel in Las Vegas, where she had the opportunity of a lifetime. She got to work with Gordon Ramsey!

Hundreds of chefs came to the hotel for a chef convention in 2008 where they displayed their food and offered samples. Myrna’s chef asked who she would like to work with for the event, and she said she’d love to cook with Gordon Ramsay.

Not only did she get to cook with him – she got to help decide what they’d make! Gordon asked what her favorite food is to make, and she suggested a shrimp salad with yogurt dressing. So that’s exactly what they made and presented at the convention.

Rick visits Avamere at Cascadia Village

The staff and residents at Avamere at Cascadia Village received a visit from the Avamere Family of Companies CEO Rick Miller this July, giving employees some time to meet and speak with their CEO.

Rick asked Myrna what she needs in her kitchen, and she explained that her floor needs redone. The grouts became dirty over the years and even with a good cleaning, the dirty grouts remained.

Myrna asked, and her thoughts were heard. Within days, several people visited the community to bid on the job to regrout and replace the kitchen floor where needed.

“Avamere listens to their employees,” Myrna expressed.

A true passion for creating

Myrna loves that she can embrace her creativity in the Avamere kitchen.

“They give me room to work on my creativity here,” she said. “That’s what I love about Avamere.”

Myrna considers her residents and what they enjoy eating most and tries to serve what they like. She serves her residents a variety of food from all around the world, including Asia, Germany, Italy, the Middle East, and more.

Spreading love through the community

Myrna spends a lot of time in the kitchen, but she makes it a point to get out and meet the residents in her independent and assisted living community.

“I like this building because everybody here – it’s like one whole family.”

Myrna loves being involved with the residents – she dances for them to bring a smile to their faces, she hugs them, and she talks to them.

Myrna is the epitome of Avamere’s mission to enhance the life of every person we serve, which is evident in an interaction she had with a new resident. Myrna noticed a resident having a difficult transition and immediately went to her side to comfort her.

“I said hello to her and rubbed her back,” Myrna recalled. “I told her I understand this is your first day. This whole building is a family here. We are your family also.”

Avamere at Cascadia Village is truly blessed to have such a kind, welcoming team. Stop by for yourself to see them in action – and of course be sure to visit the kitchen to see the top-notch food Myrna’s whipping up.