Chefs of Area Senior Living Communities Compete for Ultimate Chef America Title; Event Educates Public on Heart Healthy Dining, Aging

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 Education News
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SOUTHFIELD, Mich., July 20 A dynamic culinary competition among area professional senior living chefs that highlights healthy cooking, wellness and quality of life for older adults is coming soon. During the culinary cook-off, the professional chefs from Brookdale Senior Living, an industry-leading owner and operator of senior living communities, will entertain, educate and showcase their culinary talents to compete for the chance to win the "Ultimate Chef America" title.

On Thursday, July 29 from 4 to 7 p.m., The Heritage Southfield, a Brookdale Senior Living community, located at 25800 W. Eleven Mile Road in Southfield, Mich., will open its doors to the public and host the intense competition and educational event. Seating is limited. Reservations by Tuesday, July 27 to 248-727-2006 are required.

During the Ultimate Chef America competition, two teams of four Dining Services staff members from area senior living communities will compete during a two-hour cooking competition, focusing on healthy cooking for seniors. They will be charged with preparing four courses, and only able to use a grill for cooking.

Dishes prepared at the event will be tasted by a panel of judges. For this event, the judges are:

Attendees can join in the Ultimate Chef America event by gaining a close-up look at the competitors and the fast-paced competition. They will have the opportunity to ask the chefs questions, and taste culinary delights, including seafood soups and entrees, beef and pork tenderloin creations and more.

Attendees also will have the opportunity to participate in various educational programs, including a seminar featuring Dr. O'Neil, on the topic of "Food for the Soul," a presentation which taps into the emotional dimension and gives attendees insight into issues such as whether optimism can lead to better health and research behind the mind-body connection; a wine tasting class featuring wines, some of which may be local; and a class presented by the Culinary Arts Institute at Brookdale: "The Art of Seasoning," which addresses sodium-free solutions for declining taste buds as one ages.

To heighten the interest and activity of Ultimate Chef America, Brookdale has partnered with several national partners and sponsors to be included in a vendor expo. Attendees can interact with these vendors during the expo to gain answers, samples and more.

In addition, food inspired art created by residents of Brookdale Senior Living communities across the nation will be auctioned at the Ultimate Chef America event. Proceeds of this auction will go to The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, an organization which elevates the national consciousness of caregiving and fosters a culture of healthy caregivers impacted by chronic illness through programming, universal access to resources, and behavioral research.

"Without a doubt, attendees and participants will achieve fulfillment in the dimensions of wellness," said Joska J.W. Hajdu, Senior Vice President of Dining Services for Brookdale Senior Living, and also an executive chef by trade. "The creativity, ability, and talent of our Dining Services associates will be showcased during this unique competition. Our chefs are masters at creating traditional, heart-healthy meals, and this competition will challenge peoples' notions on healthy food choices for seniors, educate them on healthy choices, and give them a purposeful activity through the auction all in a socially engaging environment."

A way of life offered exclusively by Brookdale Senior Living at its communities for residents and associates, Optimum Life® focuses on six key dimensions -- emotional, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and purposeful.

Community tours will also be available, and participants will gain a first-hand view of the variety, styles and sizes of the private apartments and the community areas for socializing, dining and entertaining. Staff will be available to discuss living options, and visitors will learn more about the programs, outings and opportunities offered to residents.

National sponsors include Advanced Foods, E. Sam Jones and Sylvania, Direct Supply, Ecolab, Entegra, Fidelity Print, Gulf South, HD Supply, Nestle Professional, Rocky Mountain, Royal Cup, SCA, Simplex Grinnell, Snap Drape, Sysco, Terminix, Tyson, Vitality, Walgreens, World Kitchen, Corporate Imaging Concepts, and IKON.

The Ultimate Chef culinary competition is produced by the Culinary Arts Institute at Brookdale (CAI). The CAI at Brookdale is a professional development program designed to enhance the food preparation and presentation skills of Brookdale chefs. The dining and culinary arts team integrates hands-on training and classroom instructional materials that impart new food preparation skills and cutting edge techniques to enhance Brookdale residents' dining experiences.

More information about Ultimate Chef America can be found at and

Contacts: Holly Botsford, Public Relations Manager, 414-918-5314,

Andrea Pacheco, Director of Business Development, 248-727-2000,

-- Leeza Gibbons, media personality, founder of The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, and author of America's No. 1 book on caregiving, "Take Your Oxygen First." -- Dr. Kevin O'Neil, CMD, FACP of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and Medical Director of Optimum Life® for Brookdale Senior Living -- Dave Rozema, a former Detroit Tiger and Major League Baseball pitcher. -- Dino Ciccarelli, professional hockey player who played 19 seasons in the National Hockey League, including with the Detroit Red Wings. He has been recently inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and owns the nightclub Club 22 in Shelby Township, Mich. -- Evelyn Shepherd, 88-year-old resident of Heritage Southfield. She cites her mother as the one who helped develop her cooking skills and a Hungarian cousin who taught her how to bake traditional spicy, Hungarian pastries.

SOURCE Brookdale Senior Living

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