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The Triad Chapter of the American Culinary Federation voted Jones “Chef of the Year,” largely for his volunteer work in the community.
Every summer, Jones teaches underprivileged children about nutrition and cooking through the “Chef and a Child” program. Jones has helped expand the ACF program into 14 counties.
“Without people like Larry ... we could never exist,” said Donald Mc Millan, the ACF member who nominated Jones for the award.
Jones is patient with the children and takes the time to explain things, Mc Millan said. “He wants to make sure they really understand.”
Jones, who lives in Greensboro, also volunteers to help up-and-coming chefs. He assists culinary students at GTCC and helps to train cooks at their workplaces.
“He does deserve the recognition,” Mc Millan said.
The Triad Chapter of the ACF is made up of chefs from Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Burlington and High Point.
As executive chef at The Village at Brookwood, Jones oversees the formal dinning room, themed dinners, holiday buffets and catered events.
His work ranges from prepping ingredients to creating the formal dining menu, which he changes every week.
“We aren’t bored,” said resident Betsy Baldwin .
Residents might enjoy a spinach, apple and pecan salad, sea bass a la Greque, and finish with an orange blossom parfait. Pecan-encrusted chicken and shrimp and grits are among Jones’ most popular dishes.
“Larry can produce,” said Dining Services Director William Alvino of Whitsett. “And he makes it look very easy.”
When Jones took the job at Brookwood, he was worried he wouldn’t have the creative license he was accustomed to having.
“I didn’t want to do all institutional food,” Jones said.
But Brookwood has allowed him to bring his flair to the menu, and he also has a much better work schedule. Jones isn’t working 16-hour days anymore, and he’s at the retirement community only five days a week. And his co-workers are more reliable, too.
“This is the first place I’ve worked where they’re not absent all the time,” he said. “They don’t call out because they’re happy.”
Jones also is a skilled ice carver, having carved more than 1,000 ice blocks in his career. He begins with a 300-pound block of ice and uses a chainsaw, ice picks and a grinder to build an angel, a wine rack or any other sculpture.
“If they can dream it up, I’ll make it,” he said.
Jones graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York in 1978
Larry Jones spent decades working as a chef at country clubs and fancy hotels in New York, Washington and other parts of the country.
But for the past five years, the residents at The Village at Brookwood, a Burlington retirement community, have been enjoying his creations.
“I like the residents,” Jones said. “And they appreciate what I do for them.”
Other chefs in the Triad appreciate his work, too.
Village at Brookwood's Larry Jones named 'Chef of the Year’