2012 Culinary Challenge – A Time for the Chefs to Shine
Congratulations to all of the wonderful winners – the chefs and the 5 healthcare communities who donated their time, talent and resources to put on a Cooking Challenge for Charity like no other at the perfect Rhode Island venue, Rhodes on the Pawtuxet. “It was truly a wonderful event again this year and the chefs really went over the top,” said RI Chapter Executive Director, Donna McGowan. Chefs from 5 healthcare communities including Village House, Benchmark Senior Living, Epoch on Blackstone, Scalabrini Villa and The Seasons participated in the ultimate “cookoff” to see who is the “Top Chef.” We had an exciting panel of celebrity judges including: Cindy Salvato of RI Culinary Tours, Chef Frank Terranova of Johnson & Wales University, Joe Zito – TV Maitre D’, Chef Kevin Sutcliffe of Atria Senior Living, Charlie Hall from Drink & Dabble and Paul Palange of Senior Digest represented the professional “Judge’s Table.” The over 200 attendees also got to vote for the “People’s Choice.”
The Top Chef Overall winner was Village House Chef Ghazal Ghazal and he also was the winner for the People’s Choice Award with his Pork Osso Buco. Chef Ghazal has had several positions in the food industry including restaurateur and since 2007, he has been the Food Service Manager for the Village House, a long-term care facility with memory care located in Newport, Rhode Island owned by Health Concepts. Chef Vincent Messina of Epoch on Blackstone took First Place winning both the Judge’s and the People’s Choice award for Best Display with a replica of a “Lobsta” Roll Food truck that looked like it was parked on a city street complete with parking meter and road signs. Chef Vinny was the overall Winner last year and we appreciate his creative efforts again this year. Chef Vinny is Campus Director of Food Service & Dining for Epoch Senior Living, a senior living community with memory care located both on the East Side and Blackstone Boulevard. Chef Vinny is also owner and operator of Gianfranco’s Ristorante & Bar in Johnston. The Winner for Judge's Choice for Best Taste was Chef David Magnelli from The Seasons with his Venison Tenderloin and a tender Scallop in a Squash nest. Chef David Magnelli has also had a varied career in the food industry and joined The Seasons as Executive Chef in 2011. The Seasons in East Greenwich is an independent retirement residence for seniors and memory impaired adults. Runner Up for Best Display were Chefs David Silva and Steve Morrissette with their Fall themed table and succulent shrimp and crabcakes. Both Chef David and Chef Steve have been previous winners for most creative and they are currently employed by Benchmark Senior Living, a senior living community with 3 properties in Rhode Island complete with memory care. The Rookie of the year was Chef Steve Bernardi from Scalabrini Villa with a lovely display and tasty pot roast. Chef Steve said, “ I always loved cooking and being around the senior community and my job is the perfect combination.” Scalabrini Villa is a skilled nursing facility with memory care located in North Kingstown.
Let’s not forget the wonderful entertainment that evening, with DJ Crazy Phil and our Master of Ceremonies Robert Elmer III who came all the way from Westerly for the Event. Mr. Elmer is employed by The Elms Retirement Residence in Westerly. The Alzheimer’s Association held a silent auction fit for a foodie, with many baskets laden with wine, food, and cooking utensils and if you did not win a silent auction item, there was still a chance for the 50/50 raffle.
Many thanks to Razee Motorcycle Center, Ideal Home Care Service, Horizon Beverage, Sweenor’s Chocolates for sponsoring the event and to Victoria Court Pacifica Senior Living for providing the Cheese Tray. Special thanks to photographer Larry Kent for taking the beautiful photographs that evening. Again many, many thanks to all of the chefs, marketing staff, and food service support from all of the communities who volunteered to make our event a success. The Alzheimer’s Association raised over $8,000 to support local programs for families dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. If you would like more information on events, please contact the Rhode Island Chapter Office at 800 -272-3900.