Meet Memory Care Chef Trini
Trinidad Sandoval-Pina was born to cook.
The daughter of a chef from Southern California, Trini’s family history is as rich as the food she prepares for her residents here at The Fremont Senior Living Memory Care. Her Grandmother,
Trinidad Sandoval-Torres, was the first female street vendor in Los Angeles in the 1930’s. Her Father, Pedro Sandoval, was a classically trained Chef who taught Trini to cook when she was just 14.
“Cooking is literally in my blood,” Trini states. “My Father passed on his true love of cooking to me and it brings me a lot of joy.”
Trini didn’t start out as a chef, however. An Executive with a Master’s Degree in Business, she was working in the corporate world in Southern California. Although she had a good job there, she yearned for something more fulfilling. So 5 years ago, she and her husband packed their bags and headed to Missouri where Trini opened her first food truck, specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine. Soon the business had become so successful, Trini found herself once again over worked and over-tired. “I wanted a simpler life, doing something I loved,” she states. She took a position with the Fremont in order to do something she enjoys, with a more manageable schedule.
“The thing I love most about my job is my residents,” Trini states. “Seeing them truly enjoying their meals brings its own rewards every day. Knowing I’ve made a difference in their lives, that I’ve brought them some measure of happiness while caring for their specific needs, is so fulfilling.”
Trini recently entered the “Show-Me Chef’s” competition sponsored by the Missouri State University’s Film students. Based on the Food Network’s show “Chopped”, Trini is competing against some of the best Chef’s in Springfield. Each contestant is given a box of ingredients from which they must make an original meal. Other factors are thrown into the mix, such as a “Spice wheel”, and the contestant is expected to incorporate those additions into their meals. Cindy Harding, who has been attending the competitions, marvels at Trini’s calm, cool demeanor in an extremely stressful situation.
“Trini is so calm and methodical,” Cindy states. “It’s a very hectic environment, but she is always so cool and collected!”
Cindy knows the love and concern Trini extends to each resident. Her own Mother is a resident at The Fremont Memory Care and Cindy truly appreciates the love and concern that goes into each meal.
“Trini knows these residents,” Cindy states. “She knows their preferences, whether they have been eating or not, etc. She doesn’t just stay in the kitchen. She is actively involved with each resident and that makes all the difference.”
The Show-Me Chef competition, which airs in October, has been a real challenge for Trini, although she is more than equipped to handle it. “My Dad always told me to cook from the heart, which is the best advice I’ve ever gotten. I cook with a lot of love.” Trini has no plans to leave the Fremont or its resident’s, though.
“No matter what happens, I plan to stay here, cooking for the resident’s I love,” Trini says with a smile.
And for those who enjoy her delicious meals every day, that’s very good news indeed!