On Aug. 22, 2018, cooking teams from 12 skilled nursing facilities in Colorado converged at Villa Manor Care Center in Lakewood for the Colorado Health Care Association’s Chef Challenge semifinals.
Three-person teams competed for the best meal, including an entrée, side dishes and sauces. They prepared the meal live in front of an audience of peers, facility residents and visitors.
“It was so much fun,” said Sara Dent, executive director at Villa Manor. “We had residents from other buildings and other companies come in to cheer their teams on.”
A panel of five professional judges scored the plate based on team organization, culinary skills, taste and presentation and the use of a mystery ingredient.
The teams in the semifinals were chosen after entering recipes on the CHCA website. Villa Manor Care Center entered a seared salmon recipe with purple mashed potatoes and asparagus.
In addition to Villa Manor Care Center, Life Care Centers of America had another facility in the running: Life Care Center of Stonegate in Parker. The Stonegate center entered a salmon entrée as well with rice and asparagus.
“Neither of our Life Care teams made the finals, but it was an amazing day with a lot of fun and friendly competition,” Dent said.
The top five teams will go on to the finals at the CHCA’s Fall Convention on Sept. 26, where they will vie for first, second and third place.