Aging in Place—and Eating Well, Thanks to Phelps

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by Barrett Seaman – 

Volunteers for ITAV (It Takes a Village) 10591, Tarrytown’s non-profit agency that is part of a nationwide “Aging in Place” movement, were invited last month to Phelps Hospital for a treat: a meal prepared under the medical center’s new executive chef, Andrew Cain. A Michelin-rated chef most recently known for his work at California’s Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, Cain served up a Summer Vegetable Ratatouille, made up of half a dozen healthy vegetables plus spices, as an example of the kind of healthy eating senior citizens, especially, should include in their diets.

Cain was recruited by Bruno Tison, vice-president for food services and the corporate executive chef for all of Northwell. Tison was himself the first Michelin-Star chef in the United States to go to work for a healthcare company. Having world-class cooking, he says, is “part of the whole vision of our CEO, Michael Dowling, who wants to take food to the next level in healthcare,” says Tison. Healthy eating is an extension of hospital care, and Tison, Cain and other top-flight chefs brought onboard are executing that philosophy through their menus and purchasing power. Northwell as a system serves 25,000 meals a day. The ITAV volunteers are just a small sample of the beneficiaries.

ITAV began as a ride service for seniors unable to get around by themselves but has since branched out by providing help at home, setting up computers or doing handyman work, services that do not require professional licenses. More than 134 senior citizens have joined ($25 annual membership fee) and 64 have volunteered as drivers and home helpers. Those interested in joining or volunteering can learn more at

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