Verena at Leander (formerly Skye) is a 55+ luxury independent living community in the fast-growing town of Leander, Texas, a short distance from Austin. Call 512-591-5121 to schedule your visit to Verena to sample some of Chef Fred’s favorites.
Executive Chef Fred Perry’s career has been anything but boring. From developing proprietary spice blends to placing first in a snow sculpting team competition, Chef Fred gives his all to everything he does, and fortunately for Verena at Leander (formerly Skye Luxury Senior Living), that now means making beautiful food for residents of the independent living community located in Leander, Texas.
Chef Fred started cooking at 15 years old, and by the age of 17, he had achieved the title Assistant Manager at a local restaurant where he was working as a short order cook. The owner of the restaurant became his mentor and encouraged Fred to attend culinary school after high school—a dream that came true when his mentor paid for his first year as a graduation gift. “About as soon as I stepped foot in culinary school, I was hooked,” said Fred. “There was so much to learn about the business, and I soaked up every drop. Even 44 years later, I still keep in contact with the culinary instructors that shaped my career.”
Fred’s first job after graduating culinary school was cooking at an 800-room convention hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, where he was recognized as a rising star. Learning from an eclectic group of chefs from different countries, Fred discovered the importance of respecting food and saw the impact food and ingredients have on people’s lives. He says, “That time in my life was extremely important. I learned discipline. I learned precision and finer techniques, which helped me grow and eventually move up to Executive Chef at several restaurants.”
Fred also learned the business side of cooking, moving on to oversee training and budgetary compliance and eventually executive-level catering. He joined a food management company where he was part of the culinary leadership team that served the cast members at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Mentoring Culinary Students
Mentoring local culinary students has been a great passion of Fred’s, and he has imparted his knowledge on more than 15 young aspiring chefs. “I love that I have been able to do what was done for me,” says Fred. “Several young chefs I’ve worked with have grown into Executive Chef roles, become restaurant owners, started a children’s cooking school, and even become a champion on the Food Network show Chopped.”
Making Verena residents happy through delicious meals made with love is how Chef Fred spends his time these days. Through the challenging days of the pandemic, Fred and his team have listened to what residents want, fulfilling nearly every request. From creative, customized carryout containers to themed boxes filled with holiday feasts, the Verena culinary team is all about keeping residents smiling. Fred also enjoys surprising residents with familiar flavors and recently prepared an etouffee for a newcomer who mentioned he was from New Orleans.
The food is superb and has been since day one. Chef Fred does a wonderful job of mixing “southern comfort” foods and healthful entrees and sides, so that everyone can find something to their liking with each week’s menu change. Our “always menu” is an excellent mix of usual favorites, e.g., salmon, sandwiches, burgers, etc. Karen
Chef Fred’s many talents are impressive, but he is always learning and trying new things. While he reflects on the past and looks towards the future, Fred is most focused on the present. “The food I love the best is the food I’m working on today,” he says.
For a recent event with a small group, Chef Fred prepared a five-course gourmet dinner, explaining the origin of each dish and handing out the recipes for each dish.
Come to Verena at Leander (formerly Skye) and taste the food for yourself! Call 512-591-5121 today.