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.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

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

[flipp]

More in Life

File photo.
Chamber wellness webinar moved

The event, which features Dr. Erica Clark and Dr. Ilan Green, has been rescheduled from Aug. 6 to Sept. 10.

Shot from the city’s 2018 National Night Out event. Photo courtesy Julie Underwood
No city-sanctioned National Night Out event on Mercer Island this year

In light of COVID-19, the city is encouraging residents to still find safe ways to celebrate.

Shot from a previous Art UnCorked event. Photo courtesy MI Art UnCorked Facebook page
Art UnCorked, postponed to 2021, gets new official date

For now, the next Art UnCorked event is set for Sept. 10, 2021.

Graphic courtesy SJCC.
SJCC announces ‘senior hours’ for sidewalk café

Starting Aug. 4, seniors will be served exclusively from 10-11 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Top row, L-R: Councilmember Jake Jacobson, Mayor Benson Wong, Deputy Mayor Wendy Weiker. Middle row, L-R: Councilmembers Lisa Anderl, Craig Reynolds, David Rosenbaum. Bottom row, L-R: Citizens of the Year Kendra and David Uhler and Councilmember Salim Nice. Screengrab courtesy city of Mercer Island
Mercer Island ‘Citizen of the Year’ announced

David and Kendra Uhler received the honor at a recent council meeting.

A photo from this year’s production of “Rent,” which debuted in March. YTN only got through a few performances before having to cancel remaining dates due to coronavirus concerns. Photo courtesy YTN Facebook
Youth Theatre Northwest making unprecedented adjustments amid pandemic

The Reporter caught up with executive director Mimi Katano to discuss how the theatre is transitioning, what has/hasn’t worked and what concerns she has about the future.

Ezra Teshome. Photo courtesy Mercer Island Rotary Club
Mercer Island Rotary Club announces upcoming speakers

Ezra Teshome will be presenting at the July 21 meeting, Rick Newell on the 28th.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid. Courtesy photo
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid | Car review

There’s a reason Honda’s CR-V has been America’s top-selling crossover vehicle over… Continue reading

2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat. Courtesy photo
2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat | Car review

Ford’s venerable compact Ranger pickup went away for a while. But it… Continue reading