June 12, 2023 —The Kendal culinary team recently presented a culinary showcase and cook-off competition at their gathering’s host site Entegra Performance Kitchen in Ashland, Virginia. Featuring six randomly selected teams of two each, the participants, including chefs and culinary directors from various affiliates, had to showcase their skill and creativity using basket ingredients that were healthy and highly plant-based. In an ode to the popular cooking show “Iron Chef,” each team received a set of basket ingredients that they had to use to creatively prepare a delicious and visually appealing dish within an hour. Kendal culinary teams and Entegra Staff delighted in this fun and tasty event. This was the first cook-off competition like this at the Entegra site, wrapping up a successful culinary team gathering of learning and networking.
The Kendal cook-off competition at Entegra was a unique culinary event that tested the skills and creativity of the participating teams. The basket ingredients, which included lean protein, sweet potatoes, miso, farro, corn, yogurt, fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms, were carefully selected to encourage the chefs to prepare dishes that were healthy and delicious. It was exciting to see the culinary experts work with plant-based ingredients.
Judges Had a Difficult Task
During the competition, each team had 60 minutes to create and plate their dish, which was a challenge, especially given the variety of ingredients that they had to work with. The teams worked at a brisk pace to prepare their dishes, which ranged from spicy tofu, miso-flavored farro, baked fish and chicken and even a cocktail and interactive experience. The aroma of the cooking dishes wafted throughout the room, tempting the judges as they waited for the finale.
The panel of four judges were Lisa Halloway (KCorp), Jessica Buhler (KCorp), Don Workman (Entegra) and Kelvin Sennett (Entegra). They assessed and scored each dish for plate design, visual appeal, taste, flavor profile, creativity, utilization of basket ingredients and cleanliness. The judges were impressed with the culinary expertise showcased by the participating teams, making it challenging for them to select a winner.
After much careful assessment of the points scored, team 5, Sous Chef Joe Dishler from Kendal at Ithaca and Director of Culinary Steven George of Kendal at Hanover, emerged as the winner of the Kendal Culinary Showcase earning a total of 188 out of the possible 200 points. The winning dish was a flavorful and beautifully plated soy miso chicken breast with curried farro and pickled vegetables. The dish was visually appealing, with a vibrant color palette and unique texture combinations. The flavors were well-balanced, with each ingredient brought out flawlessly.
Inspiring and Exciting
The Kendal cook-off competition was an inspiring event that highlighted the versatility of plant-based ingredients in culinary creations. The participants’ creativity and skill were on full display, impressing the judges and other cooking participants alike. Healthy dishes are often a feature at many meals at Kendal communities, and this event showcased how delicious they can be.
Overall, the Kendal cook-off competition was a wonderful way to end a successful culinary team gathering, which helped to inspire culinary teams to learn, grow, and continue to create beautiful culinary experiences for residents in their respective Kendal communities.
Gathering Participants: Normann Heiss and Steven George from Kendal at Hanover, Taimi Ando and Ken Nichols from Barclay Friends, Stephanie Tolson and Corinne Pearce from Collington, Beanie Koegler and Joe Dishler- from Kendal at Ithaca, Lisa Kuschka from Kendal at Lathrop, Steve Wandishin and John Platt from Crossland Communities and Steven Veiga from Kendal at Lexington. Christian Ramsey- Director of Culinary Operations for The Kendal Corporation.