September 11, 2018 // 4:51 PM

Baking Pies for Smiles

Written by Sierra Force

Tyler Varnes, 17, pours his passion for cooking and baking into his work in the East Kitchen at Garden Spot Village. Through his work preparing food, helping with general kitchen duties and baking pies, he connects with residents and staff.

He baked two lemon sponge pies for “Eat, Pie, Love,” an event hosted this summer in Mountain View for residents to gather, build relationships and enjoy delicious pies. “A lot of people told me that they really liked them,” Tyler says. Tyler especially enjoyed the baking process because it was the first time he baked pies with his grandmother.

The overwhelming support inspired Tyler to make homemade, old fashioned root beer pies, from scratch. He approached Ashley Baker, East Kitchen dining services manager, with the idea on a Sunday in July and that evening they proudly offered root beer pies to those dining in The Coop and Fireside Café. “The pies taste just like root beer,” Tyler says. “I hope everyone who eats them enjoys them.” And everyone did!

He continues to make root beer pies in his spare time and brings them to work, just to surprise and delight his coworkers and the residents in Mountain View. Tyler also enjoys experimenting with unique recipes and flavors and hopes to test recipes for key lime pie, lemon meringue and a pudding pie. He says, “My grandma helps me bake sometimes and she inspires me in the kitchen.” He also plans to submit an entry in the annual Personal Care Bake Off this month.

Working at Garden Spot has fueled Tyler’s passion to serve others. Tyler says, “I am definitely more giving and willing to help out when needed.”

Ashley agrees, “Tyler is always positive and gets along great with his co-workers. Plus, the residents just love him! Since he's made his pies he has earned the name ‘Sweetie Pie’ from one of our residents.”

A senior at Garden Spot High School, Tyler hopes to become a nurse and plans to enroll at Harrisburg Area Community College after he graduates in the spring of 2019. Tyler foresees a bright future at Garden Spot Village. He hopes to a return as a nurse, continuing his care and relationship with residents in a new way. “I really like working at Garden Spot Village; it’s a fun place to work. I enjoy talking and interacting with the people.”

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