Chef Steve Laybourn, Covenant Shores Dining Director Neetu Saini, Executive Director Bob Howell, Chef Laura Gabriel and more pose with an Australian flag after a cooking demonstration on March 1, when residents of the Mercer Island retirement community got to try kangaroo and alligator. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Chef Steve Laybourn, Covenant Shores Dining Director Neetu Saini, Executive Director Bob Howell, Chef Laura Gabriel and more pose with an Australian flag after a cooking demonstration on March 1, when residents of the Mercer Island retirement community got to try kangaroo and alligator. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Global chef visits local retirement community on Mercer Island

Australian chef Steve Laybourn prepared kangaroo and alligator for the residents.

Residents at Covenant Shores got a taste from Down Under last week. Chef Steve Laybourn of Australia demonstrated and shared some unique cuisine and recipes at the Mercer Island senior living community on March 1.

The Flavors of Australia cooking demonstration by Chef Steve is part of the Global Chef initiative from Sodexo, Covenant Shores’ food service partner. Residents had an opportunity to taste some international dishes with kangaroo and alligator, which were compared to venison and chicken.

“Kangaroo is a bit of a novelty. Australians probably eat more lamb, chicken… but most Australians have tasted it,” Laybourn said.

For residents Fay and Russell Cheetham, who met in Sydney and moved to Mercer Island 15 years ago, it was a taste of home — not necessarily the cuisine, but the chance to chat with someone from where they grew up.

Laybourn is from Perth, and is a Sodexo Catering manager at Australia’s largest mining camp, where he leads a team that serves 2,000 guests each day. His focus is on simple, yet elegant dishes. For the past 10 years, he’s worked as a chef at remote sites managing kitchens in mining villages.

Laybourn has been traveling to Sodexo partners around the country. Covenant Shores was one of his last stops, and the only senior living community on the tour.

“Every place has been absolutely amazing,” he said.

Chef Steve Laybourn demonstrates how to sear kangaroo meat. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Chef Steve Laybourn demonstrates how to sear kangaroo meat. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Covenant Shores Chef Laura Gabriel hands out samples of alligator. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Covenant Shores Chef Laura Gabriel hands out samples of alligator. Katie Metzger/staff photo

The Australian cooking demonstration was part of Sodexo’s global chef program. Katie Metzger/staff photo

The Australian cooking demonstration was part of Sodexo’s global chef program. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Kangaroo and alligator dishes were served to Covenant Shores residents on March 1. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Kangaroo and alligator dishes were served to Covenant Shores residents on March 1. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Fay and Russell Cheetham, Covenant Shores residents from Australia, meet Sodexo Chef Steve Laybourn after his cooking demonstration. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Fay and Russell Cheetham, Covenant Shores residents from Australia, meet Sodexo Chef Steve Laybourn after his cooking demonstration. Katie Metzger/staff photo

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