Fourth of July is right around the corner, and to celebrate a day filled with independence, chef William Herzberg hosted a cooking demonstration for residents at Mountain Park Senior Living where he made strawberry shortcake on June 23.

Herzberg, general manager of Cracker Barrel in Deer Valley, hosts cooking demonstrations at Mountain Park Senior Living on a monthly basis, showing the residents how to cook delectable platters.

“I kind of try to rotate it between savory and sweet,” he said.

His mother has been a resident at Mountain Park Senior Living for the past two years, and he wanted to volunteer to spend more time with her.

Herzberg said he tries to do his cooking demonstration in conjunction with the holidays that occurs near each session.

“For St. Patrick’s Day, I did something Irish, for Mardi Gras, I did a king’s cake, which is a dessert they serve in New Orleans for Mardi Gras week, and for Cinco de Mayo, I made chicken mole,” he said.

He decided to make strawberry shortcake with whipped cream, blueberries and strawberries to celebrate Fourth of July and Flag Day. During his demonstration on the 23rd, Herzberg taught audience members how to make the dessert and how it was a perfect treat to have for any celebration. Herzberg made two batches of the strawberry shortcake for the residents and made a special cake that he decorated as the nation’s flag.

“It’s something I enjoy doing and sharing the joy with everyone here,” he said. “I like the fact that people are interested in something that I love to do. That’s the most rewarding part. I’ve been in the hospitality business my whole life, so I get a pleasure out of making people happy. When my mom and her friends enjoy watching and eating it so much, that’s where I derive my pleasure from … I love doing that.”

Michelle Major, director of fun at Mountain Park Senior Living, said the residents enjoy the cooking demonstration because many of them are passionate about cooking.

“They’ve cooked for their whole lives and they don’t do it now, so it kind of takes them back to their past,” she said.

Harriet Mallinger, resident at Mountain Park Senior Living, said she enjoyed the demonstration and said it was one of the best strawberry shortcakes she has tasted.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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