Belmont Village senior living community holds cooking competition

As Seen in the Houston Chronicle

One of the winning dishes was an apple pie with buttermilk ice cream. Another was a chocolate almond cheesecake.

Those were the winning dishes from two of the four categories in the cooking competition that took place at the Belmont Village Hunters Creek senior living community on Nov. 12.

The company had recently hosted a couple of similar events at communities in California, and, when Nancy Convertito, Belmont Village’s regional vice president of sales for the east region, heard about them she knew she wanted to organize an event for her communities.

The apple pie with buttermilk ice cream was the winner in the resident-inspired dessert category where residents shared their favorite dessert recipes that they liked to make or remembered from childhood. It was prepared by Tyler Kotta, a chef at the Hunters Creek community.

The chocolate almond cheesecake was the winner in the executive director bake-off where the executive directors of the three communities competed against each other. That winning dish was made by Justin Thomas, the executive director-in-training of the Green Hills Retirement Community in Nashville.

The winner of the main event, an Iron Chef-style competition was Jason Tyroch, a chef at the West University community, who prepared seared salmon with Risotto and a blood orange salad. Blood oranges were the mystery ingredient.

“My strategy was, number one, to have a plan going in,” said Tyroch. “But, also, to make whatever I was going to make kind of neutral enough to work with any ingredient that they gave us.”

A caprese salad was the winning dish in the other category, a team appetizer competition that was open to community members who were not chefs. Marcus Roberson and J.P. Mayer, two enrichment leaders from the West University community, prepared that winning dish.

Three of the judges were senior staff members from Belmont Village, and one judge was a resident from the West University community.

Ziggy Gruber, the owner of Kenny & Ziggy’s, was the celebrity judge.

“I was taken aback by how creative the chefs were and how great the dishes tasted!” Gruber proclaimed. “I thought that The Belmont went all out. They had a DJ and tents, and it was extremely festive. Food was being passed everywhere, all the residents were having a great time.”

The dishes were big enough that they were passed around among the residents.

“If we ate like this every day, we would all need bigger apartments,” remarked Marylou Henrey, the resident judge.

That was the largest gathering of community members since before the pandemic, and they enjoyed the social nature of the event.

While the event took place at the Hunters Creek community, over 40 residents came over from the West University community, and the event was live-streamed to the Green Hills Retirement Community in Nashville.

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