At the age of seven, Jeff Weston, Executive Chef at Vi at Silverstone, a Vi and Plaza Companies Community, discovered his passion for cooking. Sharing the kitchen with his grandfather, who was also a chef, he would study cookbooks and prepare recipes for family dinner parties in his Arizona home.
When he graduated high school, Weston decided to turn his passion into a career and began working his way up in the food industry, delivering pizzas early on and helping in the kitchen when he could. “Back then, I would rush back to help make pizza and sandwiches,” said Weston. “I did a little bit of everything, just to learn what I could.”
Today, he has more than 25 years of experience, including working as sous chef and chef de cuisine in some of Arizona’s finest restaurants, resorts and country clubs. He is a Certified Dietary Manager and a Certified Food Protection Professional with a culinary degree from The Art Institutes and a business degree with a focus in management from Arizona State University.
Weston’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to help open and own several restaurants over the years with a focus on seafood, wild game and international cuisine. In 2008, he began working at Vi at Silverstone 10 months before the retirement community opened, overseeing the installation of equipment and layout of the kitchen.
“I would wear a hard hat to work every day and began concepting, even before it opened,” said Weston.
Now, his favorite part about coming to work is the opportunity to be creative with weekly menus while also delivering an excellent resident experience. “It’s amazing working with the residents at Vi at Silverstone,” he said. “They are healthy, successful and well-traveled with a lifetime of experiences. Building a rapport with them makes my job very rewarding.”
Weston has traveled extensively himself, having visited 49 states, each with its own culinary influences. He brings back his favorite ideas and incorporates them into the menus at Vi at Silverstone, balancing variety with the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Many of these ingredients are sourced locally, such as citrus, lettuce and dairy. Weston also leverages a company to bring in fresh produce and seafood from other locations six days per week.
“Jeff encompasses everything Vi is about with his emphasis on freshness and quality,” said Sam Nano, Vi Corporate Director, Food and Beverage. “He goes above and beyond to create impeccable, vibrant and colorful dishes for the residents.”
Whether he’s preparing a daily meal or hosting the annual Hawaiian luau and pig roast, Weston is focused on resident satisfaction. “One of the biggest conversation starters among the residents is what’s on the menu for dinner every day,” he said. “Food is a main focus for everyone here.”
Dr. Ed Felton, a resident at the community for two years, agrees. “I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of food at Vi at Silverstone,” he said. “Chef Weston is extraordinarily competent and attentive to what the residents enjoy. He places a huge emphasis on fresh food, thoughtful selections, and excellent presentation.”