Vista Vibe Newsletter, Spring 2020

More than Just a Meal, Vista del Monte Offers a Dining Experience


Residents enjoy everything from gourmet food to comfort food

At Vista del Monte we embrace the “foodie” culture! We have experienced chefs, who focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients
while finding the right balance between gourmet cuisine and comfort food.

Vista del Monte‘s Executive Chef Blake Montag cut his culinary teeth at luxury establishments like Hawaii’s King Kamehameha Hotel. He spent time as an instructor at his alma mater, School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management at Santa Barbara City College. For 20 years he owned his own catering business.

“Working at a retirement community is a different experience for me,” Chef Blake said. “Here, I get an opportunity to be ‘on the floor’ instead of being in the kitchen all day, which I love. Residents’ comments are very important to me and I love speaking directly to them. They are the pulse of the community and it helps me prepare meals that please them.”

Chef Blake estimates that each month he and his staff prepare more than 16,000 meals. The Vista dining room offers several entrées to choose from each day, along with soups, salads, side dishes, and an alternative menu. Vista provides a diverse menu for the many personal tastes. A typical dinner consists of seared lemon and red pepper salmon with cilantro lime crema, petit filet with wild mushroom and rosemary zinfandel sauce, or a heart healthy special of herb-roasted chicken breast with quinoa pilaf and roasted root vegetables. Meals can be accompanied with a homemade classic chicken noodle soup or a spicy gumbo, local seasonal vegetables, fresh fruit
or berry platter. Menus are also available for special diets such as gluten free, diabetic and low-sodium.

Vista also features specialty themed menus during special occasions like Christmas, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, including delights such as Duck a l’Orange, prime rib and leg of lamb.

“My goal is to create a dining experience just as good or better than something you would find at a downtown Santa Barbara restaurant,” Chef Blake said. “But my favorite thing to do is surprise residents with impromptu menu items like when we have an omelet bar, or a carving station.”

Since arriving at Vista del Monte about a year ago, Chef Blake revamped the six-week menu with new items that change with the seasons as well as creating “chef’s specials” that he serves three days a week.

Many studies have shown that food is an emotional experience for residents. For families of residents, it gives them comfort knowing that their loved ones are being served quality products.

“Residents look forward to dining here,” Chef Blake said. “It’s a very social experience. Some even say dining at Vista is like a cruise ship that never comes into port.”