Building community and rapport with customers, and marketing a program’s culinary expertise are two primary goals of any in-house dining operation. That is especially true in the senior living segment, where residents are dependent on the onsite foodservice staff for most of their meals, and thus consider dining operations carefully when choosing a facility.
Cura Hospitality manages dining operations in more than 50 such facilities and has developed programs with both goals in mind.
One prominent recent example was the Phoebe Ministries/Cura Hospitality Chef Challenge, held in November at Phoebe Allentown Health Center in Allentown, PA.
It was styled after the Food Network’s popular “Iron Chef” show and structured as a competition between Cura chefs and residents of Cura client Pheobe Ministries from Allentown, Wyncote, Richlandtown, and Wernersville, PA.
The stage was set with two commercial stainless steel kitchens. There, two teams each had one hour to prepare a menu using a secret ingredient revealed the day of the competition—in this case, eggnog.
The winner was the Team Phoebe Culinary Canaries, who were presented “The Culinary Flame” award. The team’s winning menu incorporating appetizer, main entrée and dessert courses. Among the dishes:
Appetizer: Crispy Coconut & Sunflower Seed Chicken with Pineapple Cranberry Salsa (Dipped in Eggnog)
Entrée: Sunflower Seed Herbed (Dipped in Egg Nog) Pork Loin with Cherry & Apple Chutney;
Side Dish: Creamy Eggnog Cous Cous with Roasted Garlic and Cranberries;
Dessert: Pumpkin & Cranberry Vermont Spice Cupcake with Butter Rum Frosting.
Resident participants were permitted to bring one ingredient of their choice, while Cura chefs provided pantry items including flour, sugar, spices, fresh herbs, produce, pork, poultry and beef.
The teams prepared six servings of each food with one show plate per course for a panel of six judges who used a 20-point grading system focused on taste, presentation and originality.
The Chef Challenge demonstrates Cura’s LivingLife program through which its dining teams offer activities and food entertainment events that increase socialization, wellness, memory support and, most importantly, great food!