When residents want to host an event at Villa Gardens, they look no further than to Irma Gallegos to help make their visions come to life.
Irma has worked at Villa Gardens for more than two decades, starting as a food service aide, then cook, sous-chef and now catering manager. She is the go-to person who delivers a worry-free creative presentation and delicious fare to any function big or small.
"We have residents who host parties, meetings and all types of gatherings here so it is important that we have this unique service available," said Irma, who holds an associate's degree in culinary arts from
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. "This is a special service we are very proud of. We can assist with small birthday or tea parties of five or 10 people to large events with 150 guests or
anything in between. We are always happy to help our residents host their friends and family."
Many residents are movers and shakers in Pasadena and in neighboring communities who often host events like service club meetings, fundraisers and private parties. Under Irma's supervision, Villa Gardens catering department fills about 100 catering orders each month. These can range from plates of Villa's famous royale cookies to an ice cream social, or a five-course meal with full bar and appetizers. Residents can choose from the catering menu or make special requests. Villa Gardens’ experienced Executive Chef James can meet almost any request including recreating a favorite family recipe from scratch.
"My favorite thing about my job is seeing the residents faces and hearing their kind words when they see how well the team puts each event together," Irma said. "They are so appreciative and some are surprised that Villa provides such a service."
One of those grateful residents is Alice Coulombe. "I used to host events at my home in Pasadena," she said. "When I moved here, I was pleasantly surprised that Villa Gardens had this excellent service available for residents. What may be a luxury at many retirement communities is standard at Villa Gardens."
"Irma did a fabulous job," said resident Sally White, who recently hosted a small get-together for friends. "We requested cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres and Irma gave us about 10 different choices including delicious finger sandwiches and shrimp cocktail. And the room decorations were superb. Russ and I have done a lot of entertaining over the years using some wonderful caterers and we count Irma among the best."
"My job is to provide excellent service to residents and at the same time use my creativity to produce a unique experience they will not soon forget," Irma said. "I could not ask for a better job."
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