Love: The Most Important Ingredient

“There’s one ingredient that not everyone has: love,” said Ann Marie Villarreal, Director of Dining Services. “But Tyson has that. He puts love into cooking and love into caring for the residents.”

Ann Marie has worked with Tyson Washington, Sous Chef, for over two years. She values his work ethic and how he constantly strives to make things better.

“He is very committed to the residents and the quality of food we serve. He truly cares.” Ann Marie said. “He comes to my office all the time to talk about how things are running and how they can be improved.”

Tyson didn’t always like cooking. In fact, he used to hate it. It all started when he and his family moved to Alabama, and his family joined a large church where they were actively involved.

“My mom and I would make meals for the entire church multiple times a week,” Tyson said. “I didn’t realize how much I’d learned from observing until I started working with food.”

With his new-found passion for food, Tyson joined the Dining Services team at Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC) in May 2011. He then spent time in Environmental Services, before switching back to Dining Services and becoming the Sous Chef.

“I love cooking for the residents and enjoy getting to know them,” Tyson said. “Everyone here cares—the staff cares about the residents and the residents care about the staff. I treat them like they’re family.”

If you spend time with Tyson, you’ll notice many people stop and say hi; he’s well known on the CRC campus. He’s seen a lot of growth and change at UMRC and says that’s a big reason for why he stays.

“I love it here,” Tyson said. “It’s more than a paycheck – it’s an education.

He also works at a golf club in Holt, Mich. His time off work is spent with his 4-year-old son, Jaeden, who lives in Maine. Every three months or so, Tyson travels to Maine to spend time with his son.

“We go to the fair, to the zoo, the water park—anything together. Jaeden is very energetic and social,” Tyson said.

Whether by bus, train, plane, or car, Tyson always makes a point of staying close to his son, saying he will support him no matter what he does.

“A lot of people ask me how I do it,” Tyson said. “My son is a blessing from God. I’d do anything for him. I love him, and that outweighs everything.”