Good nutrition is an important requirement for growing bodies in recovery. “You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body,” advised the Roman poet Juvenal nineteen centuries ago—making that motto famous ever since. For teenagers with mental health and substance misuse issues a healthy diet is key to a positive treatment outcome.
In a residential setting, mealtimes for teenage clients should also be fun—an opportunity for bonding in a family-like setting. And finally, meals can be multicultural culinary experiences rather than just shoveling fast food without nutritional value in your mouth.
Turning Winds offers all of the above. Head chef Veronica Langton is an experienced and excellent international cook who is in charge of ordering, preparing, and creating delicious meals for the students and her colleagues. Veronica puts her whole heart into every meal she prepares but she does much more than cooking: she creates a family environment for the teens in treatment.
“I really enjoy being the mom of the group, she says. “Fellow students tell newcomers, ‘you can tell Veronica if you get hungry. Talk to her and she will give you something,’ they say. I don’t want them to go to bed and feel hungry. I want them to feel comfortable as if they were at home.”
Langton was born and raised in Chile and has always been interested in cooking new and interesting dishes. Prior to joining the Turning Winds team, she worked as a school aide, teaching Spanish in a one-room schoolhouse.
Because of her background, Langton is particularly excellent in the cuisine of Latin America—especially dishes from her native Chile. Now she is getting some international help. Turning Winds recently expanded its nutritional services by hiring another cook.
Melissa Johnson is originally from Indonesia and specializes in Asian dishes. “Her cooking is totally different from my cooking,” says Langton. “She does all these Asian recipes, Indonesian, Filipino, Japanese, and Chinese while I focus on Latin American cuisine now.”
It’s a culinary tag team. “She is really good and we learn from each other. Melissa had never tried a cinnamon roll before she came here but she really liked mine,” Langton says with a proud smile. “Some of our teenage clients know Asian food better than me because they were going out and having Asian food at home but I always prepare our own meals at home and until now it was never Asian food. The kids really like Melissa’s ramen-style Japanese soup.”
Turning Winds teenagers get to enjoy a healthy but tasty diet to promote their well-being. “It’s a great upgrade for us to add something different from a different type of cuisine,” says Langton. “Melissa is a great addition to our team, bringing new spice and new flavors to the kitchen.”
At Turning Winds, it’s people like Veronica and Melissa who make the difference. We have built a team of academic and therapeutic professionals who share the same goal: helping teens re-engage meaningfully with their lives, families, and their futures.
Our mission is to rescue teens from crisis situations, renew their belief in their own potential, reunite them with their families, and put them on a sustainable path to success. Contact us online for more information, or call us at 800-845-1380. If your call isn’t answered personally, one of us will get back to you as soon as possible.