HarborChase Chef Called for Duty at Capitol Riots

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By Rena Malai

 Sponsored by HarborChase

When Luis Vazquez Alba, Director of Hospitality at HarborChase of Prince William Commons Assisted Living and Memory Care, was growing up in Peru, he got his first taste at being a chef.

“The first thing I remember cooking was a rice pilaf. And it came out better than my mother’s,” Vazquez Alba said. “I always enjoyed cooking but I never thought I would become an Executive Chef. But after I moved to the United States…here we are.”

DC National Guard

Vazquez Alba in uniform

On Jan. 6, Vazquez Alba was in the middle of lunch service when he got notice that riots had broken out at the Capitol. He immediately reported for duty, because in addition to working at HarborChase, he is also a Sergeant in the DC National Guard, where he manages a team within the fuel production unit.

“Being in the Army National Guard gives me a different sense of my life. When I jump into my uniform, I feel like I’m going out to make a difference,” he said.

When he’s not in army fatigues, Vazquez Alba spends his time at HarborChase creating the ultimate dining experience for residents, whether it’s an everyday breakfast or a five-course meal for a special occasion.

“The skills I picked up in the Army of teamwork, supporting my colleagues, and making sure everyone is well, I bring to my role at HarborChase,” he says. “It’s about leadership, accountability, and doing the right thing.”

Home Is Where the Belly Is

According to HarborChase Assisted Living Executive Director Susan Haynes, food is an important component at HarborChase, and home is often where the belly is.

“Chef Luis gives our residents an exceptional dining experience, at every meal, every day,” Haynes said. “His integrity and honor of commitment is extraordinary and he takes a vested interest in getting to know the likes and dislikes of the residents. He makes them feel at home.”

U.S. Presidential Inauguration

After completing his day at HarborChase, Vazquez Alba grabs his army uniform and heads out the door for his Army National Guard duties, including being on call at the United States Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20.  Haynes says it can be a sight to see as he will sometimes have his chef jacket in tow along with his army gear.

“He not only serves our seniors, but he serves our U.S. President,” Haynes said. “He has been with us (HarborChase) since our start three years ago, and our grand opening was nothing short of exquisite thanks to his attention to detail, creativity, and direction.”

HarborChase believes in celebrating senior living by providing best-in-class hospitality, rich, vibrant, and engaging resident programs, and exceptional, personalized care. The HarborChase dining experience is matched only by the nation’s best restaurants and luxury resorts, including all day room service.

For more information, visit harborchase.com.

Rena Malai is a journalist and freelance writer. Over the course of her career, she has covered a variety of topics from technology and policy, to food and lifestyle. She lives in Prince William County and is a native Washingtonian.

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