Chefs of Local Senior Living Communities Compete for Ultimate Chef America Title; Event Educates Public on Healthy Dining and Aging

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 General News
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MESA, Ariz., Jan. 12 A dynamic culinary competition among professional senior living chefs for the chance to win the "Ultimate Chef America" title will be held locally as the kick-off to the 2010 Ultimate Chef America tour in cities across the United States.

On Thursday, Jan. 28 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., The Springs of East Mesa, a Brookdale Senior Living community, located at 6220 E. Broadway Road in Mesa, will open its doors to the public and host the intense competition. Seating is limited. Reservations by Tuesday, Jan. 26 to Sheri King at 480-221-3065 are required.

The culinary professionals from Brookdale Senior Living, industry-leading owners and operators of senior living communities, will entertain and showcase their culinary talents during the competitions. During each Ultimate Chef event, two teams of four Dining Services staff members will compete during a two-hour cooking competition focusing on healthy cooking for seniors.

Attendees can join in the event by gaining a close-up look at the competitors and the fast-paced competition. 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 also will have the opportunity to participate in various educational programs, including a seminar featuring Brookdale's Medical Director, Dr. Kevin O'Neil, on the topic of "Food for the Soul," 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.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the creativity, ability, and talent of our Dining Services associates will be showcased during this unique competition," said Joska J.W. Hajdu, Senior Vice President of Dining Services for Brookdale Senior Living. "Our chefs are masters at creating traditional, heart-healthy meals, and this competition will challenge peoples' notions on healthy food choices for seniors."

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

In addition, food inspired art created by residents of Brookdale Senior Living communities across the nation will be auctioned off 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.

The event will also feature a gourmet food tasting where participants will receive a taste sampling of the recipes prepared in the competition. 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.

In addition, the event will feature a silent auction. Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation as well.

National sponsors include Vitality, owned by Nestle and a supplier of juice concentrates and noncarbonated drinks; Advanced Food, a manufacturer of proportioned meats; SCA, which offers personal care products, tissue, packaging, publication papers and solid-wood products in more than 90 countries; Fidelity Printing, a full service and custom print company that has been providing quality customer care since 1999; Royal Cup Coffee, known for a full range of beverages and beverage related items including coffee, fountain beverages, juices, and specialty teas; and Ecolab, which supplies programs and services for cleaning, sanitation, and pest control in more than 160 countries.

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

Brookdale Senior Living Inc. is the leading owner and operator of senior living communities throughout the United States. The company owns and operates independent living, assisted living, dementia care, skilled nursing and continuing care retirement centers. In all, Brookdale operates 565 communities in 36 states with a capacity to serve approximately 53,600 residents, as well as operating a dedicated rehabilitation and therapy group serving its communities and residents nationwide. Brookdale is committed to providing exceptional living experiences within properties that are purpose-built, designed and operated to help residents live well while achieving an Optimum LifeŪ. Brookdale Senior Living communities provide a daily experience of programs, services and care that are unique as a result of the collective talents and inspiration of the residents, their families, and its associates - demonstrating Brookdale's promise of "Our People Make the Difference." Brookdale is a publicly-traded company (NYSE: BKD). For more information, visit

-- Lois DeDomenico, creator of Rice-A-Roni and an international philanthropist. -- Mayra Piani, reporter from KPHO. She has been with CBS 5 News since 1995 when she started as a reporter. -- Dr. James Huysman, executive director and co-founder of The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, and author of America's No. 1 book on caregiving, "Take Your Oxygen First." -- John La Medica, resident of Freedom Inn Scottsdale. He grew up in the meat business, and, during his career he made many friends which always asked him to try their new entrees. La Medica became very used to taste testing and took up a liking for cooking as a hobby.

SOURCE Brookdale Senior Living

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