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Chef's Passion For Cooking A Family Trait
Alex Meredith named executive chef at Smith Crossing in Orland Park
Meredith describes himself as “a proper chef, classically French trained,” and says he’s comfortable preparing a variety of regional cuisines—Southern Cajun, New England, Southwest and California—as well as a variety of ethnic foods.
Having worked for country clubs in Lake Forest and Winnetka and as executive sous chef at Japoni Sante, Meredith is motivated to consistently provide food that people love and enjoy.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have such a large audience,” he says, noting that nearly 300 Smith Crossing residents dine on his food each night. “With restaurants, you don’t always know how many you will serve on any given day. And at Smith Crossing, I’m eager to face the challenge of keeping dining experiences fresh and interesting for my ‘regular’ diners,” he adds.
“I’m also thrilled that everything we serve here is fresh,” he says. “Absolutely nothing is canned. I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
A team player, Meredith acknowledges the talent and reliability of his seasoned staff. He credits his love for his profession to the fact that his father is a chef—as were his uncle and grandfather.
“I grew up with feta cheese and olives on the table,” Meredith says, referring to his Greek heritage. “A passion for cooking runs in my blood.” His family operated a family dining restaurant in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Lexington, Ky., where he grew up.
At 16, Meredith started working part-time as a dishwasher at a steak and chop restaurant, eventually working his way up to fry cook and grill cook before graduating from high school. He later enrolled at Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky., preparing for a career in hotel and restaurant management.
While working as an intern in the kitchen at the Broadmoor, a five-star resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., he decided to study culinary arts as well. “This experience sparked my interest in my family’s business,” he says. “I realized how gratifying and satisfying it feels to create. I realized I’m very much an artist.”
Meredith is committed to fostering relationships with Smith Crossing residents and members of the Smith Crossing dining committee. “I value feedback, and I feel I need this in order to provide food that people truly savor and enjoy,” he says. “Everyone is so nice here. I’ve already met more people here than I did in years of working elsewhere.”
Meredith lives in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood with his cat, Stella.
About Smith Crossing
Smith Crossing, at 10501 Emilie Lane in south suburban Orland Park just north of I80 and west of LaGrange Road, recently opened the final phase of a $37 million expansion to increase its capacity by nearly 60 percent. It is one of only 13 CCRCs in Illinois awarded a five-year term of accreditation for “exemplary conformance”
Sponsored by Smith Senior Living, a not-for-profit organization serving older adults since 1924, Smith Crossing provides spacious residences and engaging programs for independent living, as well as assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing care. Smith Crossing also provides short-term rehabilitation services for residents and others requiring assistance after surgery or a medical incident.
For more information about Smith Crossing, call 708-326-2300or visit SmithCrossing.org.