If you smell something good coming from Dunn Road in Raleigh, North Carolina, chances are Chef Eric Wicker is cooking up something delicious for the residents of Verena at Bedford Falls, an Independent Living Community situated in a quiet neighborhood. Wicker has been the Culinary Director of Verena at Bedford Falls since February 2020, shortly after the community opened.
With more than 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry at various venues, Wicker landed at Verena at Bedford Falls to continue his passion for making people happy through food. His hands-on, supportive leadership has inspired the Verena culinary team to deliver a meal experience to residents that has quickly become well regarded. From sweet potato pie to an elegant plate of pork schnitzel with tarragon-lemon butter sauce, the meals represent the diverse tastes of Verena residents and have become one of the most important aspects of living at the community.
Love What You’re Doing
“The secret (which shouldn’t be a secret if you love what you are doing) is to let the residents tell me what they want,” says Wicker. “By cooking and preparing most of the menu options from scratch, I can make sure our residents, and especially those residents with dietary restrictions, are happy with the menu choices, and that is really important to me as a chef.”
Verena resident Patricia Foster is a big fan of Chef Eric and appreciates his originality. “Best food ever here! Most variety and he fixes things I wouldn’t think to eat, and it’s wonderful and I eat every bite of it!” she says with enthusiasm.
Wicker’s favorite protein to work with is seafood, especially fresh seafood locally sourced from the Carolinas. It fuels his creativity when developing menus and preparing new dishes, he explains. But, ask him to eat seafood, and he’ll more than likely turn you down. “My favorite food to eat will always and forever be homemade lasagna,” he says.
Inspiration in the Kitchen
Wicker takes inspiration from his three kids to provide Verena residents with a culinary experience built on love. His youngest daughter, at ten years old, is already making cakes and cookies from scratch and often critiques her father at dinner time, helping Wicker push boundaries in the Verena kitchen. These days, meals at Verena at Bedford Falls are delivered to residents’ apartments, but they arrive as beautifully put together as they had been in the kitchen. Wicker wouldn’t have it any other way—his passion goes beyond the food itself; he wants each and every resident to know he is there for them and to feel comfort in every bite they take.
At Verena at Bedford Falls, an Independent Living Community in Raleigh, North Carolina, retirement is a time for less worry and more fun. Live a full and healthy life surrounded by serene woods and modern conveniences. Connect with new friends, engage in new adventures, and enjoy exquisite meals prepared by an experienced and creative culinary team driven by a passion for food. Schedule your tour today!
Check out Verena at Bedford Falls on Facebook.