CALA Chef Challenge Award Winners Recognized

On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, the Connecticut Assisted Living Association hosted its 26th Annual Conference and Trade Show at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT. During the event, the CALA Chef Challenge took place in the exhibitor hall, where CALA member community chef’s showed off their skills and competed against one another amongst the crowd.

All conference attendees were able to vote for their favorite plate presentation as part of the People’s Choice Awards.  There were also three Certified Executive Chef Judges who selected the top three winners from each flight.  The CALA Chef Challenge competition brought out the creative flare as the chefs battled for the top prize.  Much planning and preparation went into each chef’s menu and the results were outstanding!  The chefs and culinary teams are working hard behind the scenes every day fueling the residents with tasty and nutritional creations, so this competition was a fun way to celebrate their talents. CALA Chef Challenge was proudly sponsored by Benchmark Senior Living.

“CALA would like to highlight all the competitors and chefs. They truly are amazing and have such a big impact on the lives of the residents in their communities. They all deserve recognition for their contribution.”

Christopher Carter, CALA President

Below you can see the chefs hard at work and the list of the award winners!

Seafood Flight AwardChefCommunityMenu
1st PlaceGiovanni DillardMaplewood at DanburyThai – Style Seared Black Sea Bass
2nd PlaceLeyn (Roger) AliagaBenchmark at HamdenPan Seared Branzino Over a Wild Mushroom Saffron Risotto
3rd PlaceJoel LittleColebrook Village at HebronPan Seared Diver Scallops – Potato Puree with Lobster and Roasted Corn, Creamed Leeks, Frizzled Squash, Lemon-Tarragon Beurre Blanc
People’s ChoiceJimmy UddinMaplewood at SouthportPearl of the Ocean – Pan seared Sea Scallops served in the shells over Lobster Mouse topped with Enoki Mushroom Red Caviar
Beef Flight AwardChefCommunityMenu
1st PlaceCatie EykelhoffMaplewood at SouthportBacon-Wrapped Beef Medallions with Morel Mushrooms, Creamy Cauliflower Mash and Charred Baby Carrots
2nd PlaceToni GaitesWesley Heights, UMHDelmonico Bordelaise with Tri-Chromatic Asparagus encompassed by a Rosemary & Garlic infused Pomme Puree
3rd PlaceMatt BondBenchmark – Sturges Ridge of FairfieldBraised Veal Cheek with Greek Skordalia
People’s ChoiceHenry JaraLCB Residence at Summer StreetBacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon with Grilled Vegetables Napoleon


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