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

More in Life

Ready or not, college is arriving | Guest article

How parents can help their students embark on a college career.

Leaving for college anxiety | Dear YFS

A monthly advice column about issues faced by Islanders.

SeaJAM, which kicks off the SJCC Arts + Ideas 2019–2020 season, will present “An Evening with Debra Messing” on Saturday, September 14, at Benaroya Hall’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. Courtesy photo
SJCC prepares for second annual SeaJAM

SeaJAM will present “An evening with Debra Messing” on Sept. 14.

Photo courtesy of Greg Asimakoupoulos
                                A plaque commemorating the date the Asimakoupoulos family changed its name.
A summer to remember | On Faith

A monthly column dealing in faith.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photos
                                Covenant Living at the Shores residents and staff with Ageless Aviation pilot and team at the Renton Municipal Airport on Aug. 12.
Covenant Living at the Shores Residents take flight

Tom Norris, Sid Boegl, Doug Wilkinson, and Jack Nelson take flight in a 1942 Boeing Stearman.

Author Claire Gebben gives blacksmithing a go at Bruce Weakly’s private shop on Whidbey Island. Gebben sought to learn the art of blacksmithing to better understand the life of her great-great grandfather, who immigrated to Cleveland in the mid-1800s. Photo courtesy of Claire Gebben
Island author Gebben’s work named Indie Book Awards finalist

“How We Survive Here: Families Across Time” reveals genealogical journey.

Mike Woodsum of the Mountain to Sound Greenway Trust is the featured speaker for the Mercer Island Probus Club July meeting on Thursday, July 11. Courtesy photo
Greenway speaker at July 11 Probus Club meeting

Meeting date has changed for July; location has changed for summer meetings.

Celebrating the Fourth on the Eastside

Americans all over the country including the Eastside region will gather on… Continue reading

This willow tree had recently fallen and was only a stump. Now new life has grown where all hope had seemed lost. Photo by Greg Asimakoupoulos
Lessons from the resurrection tree

Finding hope in times of loss | On Faith

Most Read