In a city known for delectable cuisine, in a district rife with creativity and expressiveness, The Stayton at Museum Way is admittedly an uncommon candidate when you think of premier dining. But for anyone who’s enjoyed a meal in the senior living community’s 11th-story Skyline Restaurant, or shared a bottle of wine at the open-air Sky Lounge, there may not be better tables – or views – in Fort Worth.
That’s exactly the vision Uwe Rudnick is cultivating. The German-born chef and new dining services director at The Stayton brings decades of high-end hospitality experience to an industry still trying to shake the stereotype of cafeteria-style service.
“My hospitality background helps a lot; I see them as guests, not residents,” said Rudnick, who spent the previous 10 years leading the kitchen at the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel. “I engage and communicate with them as I would at any 4-star restaurant.”
Rudnick says his passion for food was, at first, developed more out of necessity than love.
“I had to be a chef, my mother couldn’t cook – it was self-defense,” he laughed. “I started doing home economics in school, which was unusual at the time. This really became an outlet for my creativity.”
That humble beginning led him to cook in resorts and restaurants across the globe – Amsterdam, England, Tehran, Hong Kong, the Bahamas. Eventually, his profession brought him to the U.S. in 1980, where he lent his talents to numerous high-end hotel systems like Intercontinental, Sheraton and Hyatt.
On any given night at The Stayton, you’ll find Rudnick splitting his time at the front and back of the house. A few minutes to greet and socialize with residents, and then it’s on the line to personally check the quality of the dishes.
His vision for the community is simple. Everything is made from scratch, with a focus on local organic produce and ingredients. With parts of The Stayton’s menu changing every two days, and the full menu changing weekly, Rudnick believes there are plenty of opportunities to balance traditional home-cooked favorites with more international dishes.
“Let’s cook old-fashioned, like grandma used to – but without the grease,” he said, adding the vast majority of residents are well-traveled and have extensive knowledge of worldly cuisine. “The Stayton is unique. There are lots of opportunities to make our dining experience even better.”