Meet Starling at San Jose's Executive Chef, Rene Loucel


For more than 50 years Executive Chef Rene Loucel has worked in the food industry. He got his start with an apprenticeship at the Pebble Beach Corporation in California. Chef Loucel says he was lucky to work under some amazing chefs there, receiving excellent french pastry, butcher, and speciality buffet training. From there he moved to Louisiana where he began cooking cajun and creole food. With that experience he now enjoys cultivating dishes that ignite the senses.

In January 2020 he started his new position as the Executive Chef at Starling at San Jose. He explains he knew it was the right fit from the moment he walked in, “I looked around and met with some of the residents and I decided almost instantly.” Chef Loucel says anyone who visits the community will see that it is luxurious. “The building itself is just like a mini resort. It just looks so nice and inviting.” But, he quickly learned what sets Starling at San Jose apart from the rest. “The thing that really makes it special and puts the icing on the cake, so to speak, are the residents themselves. Such a rich history of life, and things they’ve done, and things they can teach you. It’s just great to be able to interact.”

Chef Loucel understands we are living in unprecedented times. He wants everyone to know health is a top priority, “We keep our mind on what needs to be done to ensure the health and safety of our residents. Which is our primary objective, our main focus is to keep them safe.” Not only does he strive to keep the residents physically healthy but, he wants to make sure they are living a happy life! He says he loves to take meal requests. “I suggest that to people all the time. If there is something they would like me to make that varies from what we are offering, I am happy to do it just for the fact that it’s pleasing them and it allows me to work on something out of the norm.”

He says he would recommend Starling at San Jose to any of his loved ones because of the care he sees the residents receive everyday. He explains that just like most of us, he is ready to move past the pandemic and prepare some wonderful dishes for all the residents to enjoy together. “I see an endless variety of possibilities!”