Cooking with Bernie: Paul’s Run Resident Shares his Passion for Food with Friends, Families, and Neighbors
May 6, 2021
All photos were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic and reflect life in our community.
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 over 30 years, Bernie and Freda’s special connection is not just evident, it’s admirable. Moving to Paul’s Run in October of 2019, Mr. and Mrs. Samuels are thrilled to call this community home. “We absolutely love it here,” Freda affirms.
Bernie and Freda previously lived in a 55+ community. When they first began searching for retirement 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 Paul’s Run was by far the best,” says Bernie.
One problem that especially bothered Bernie with other retirement communities was the disappointing quality of food. 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 spark. “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 with a smile. 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 recalls.
Check out 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
- 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.
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
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. He is always sharing his recipes with me. We have great communication,” he adds. In fact, the Paul’s Run dining team gave Bernie’s crab cake recipe a try and apparently it was a hit. “Those crab cakes were excellent,” Bill confirms.
As Bernie and Freda continue to make meaningful connections throughout the community, they truly appreciate the Paul’s Run team members 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.” And the Paul’s Run team is thrilled that Bernie never keeps his recipes a secret. “Whenever I share recipes here, people really appreciate it,” says Bernie.