A look into Ruben's wonderful world of food at Kingston


You've worked the kitchens at several of Santa Fe's most respected restaurants, including Geronimo's - what motivates you to work in a senior living community like Kingston?

My passion is cooking, and that comes with me in every environment I work in. I want to show people my love for them through food. In a senior living community, I get to do that even moreso because our culinary staff and our residents spend every day together. It's like cooking for family.


What are some of the exciting events your team likes to throw for residents?

We have so much fun with parties at Kingston. We do summer BBQ's, Luau's, taco and pizza bars. Next week we're throwing a Casablanca party with a full moroccan menu.

Variety is the spice of life. The seasonal and special events we throw gives our culinary staff fun new challenges to accomplish together as a team. The residents come to love it too, it's like being a part of a family with new traditions around food and friends. It gives them something to look forward to.


What changes have you made since accepting the executive chef position at Kingston?

I inherited a great dining reputation from our former Chef, Tony Quintana. Kingston is well known in Santa Fe for having some of the highest culinary standards in senior living.

Sunday brunch has become a big deal at Kingston, and we have families planning their weekend around attending. We also refresh our menu every week, a that's really uncommon in senior living communities.

We're working with more local growers and purveyors for fresh vegetables and fruits and we've brought on a new seafood partner who can keep up with our high standards for freshness. Working in Santa Fe for 25 years has helped me to understand who the most consistent and quality vendors are.

One other nice touch is that we've started featuring fresh flowers on the dining tables every day. We want every resident to feel that mealtime is a special occasion for them.


The art of creating an excellent dining experience is as much about service as it is the food you serve. What are some of the things you like to see from your service staff?

A Kingston, our residents are able to choose from a changing menu every week, so great service starts with ensuring our wait staff knows what's on the menu and getting the resident's order right. There's nothing more important than treating them to the excellent service they would receive at a quality restaurant.

We also pride ourselves on preparing a clean work station and dining room. We're working in their home, so we must treat it with the same respect and care we would if we were cooking a meal in their kitchen and dining room.

The food options in senior communities have come a long way. What are the some of the more sophisticated dishes your residents like most?

Some of our resident's favorite dishes are classics like blueberry pancakes, nacho plates, and Cobb salads. Over the past few months we've experimented with new options like curry tiger shrimp and short ribs with green chile mashed potatoes.


What are a couple of your favorite spots to dine out in Santa Fe?

L'Olivier it's a nice French restaurant, their Colorado rack of lamb is the best i've had. My favorite for classic New Mexican food is Cafe Castro, I don't think I can pick a favorite now that you've put me on the spot, but any dish on their menu is a good pick!

Where do you look for inspiration in creating new dishes?

I love reinventing the French, Mexican and Italian dishes from my experiences in different restaurants. There's so much I love to cook, I have no trouble looking for new ideas. Our residents also play a part in determining what makes our menu - we try to include their feedback on dishes that make them feel at home.


What's your go-to snack?

Pistachios! When there's no time to cook a meal and i'm looking for something healthy and flavorful, I always reach for a bag of Pistachios. I can eat a whole bag in the blink of an eye!

Feel free to reach out to our community at 505-501- 7410 to enjoy a complimentary meal with our team, or drop in for a tour anytime!


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