American Senior Communities (ASC) hosted their annual Chef Showdown on Thursday, August 10 at the Ivy Tech Culinary Building in Indianapolis. Culinary Managers from all 101 of ASC’s communities across Indiana were invited to compete in this Iron-Chef-inspired cooking competition. Six Culinary Managers competed in the 2023 showdown with Executive Chef Michael Minch from Rosegate Assisted Living emerging as the winner.
ASC’s Culinary Managers are skilled culinary experts who provide leadership along with nourishing, attractive, well-balanced meals for their residents. In the Chef Showdown, Culinary Managers are challenged to flex their creative chops in a timed cooking battle in which they are provided challenging combinations of ingredients to be used in creating a dish. The finalists then compete in three rounds featuring an appetizer, main course and dessert.
Guest judges included: ASC CEO Steve Van Camp; Patty Spitler, Host of Great Day TV; Executive Chef Jeffrey Bricker, Hospitality Program Chair at Ivy Tech Community College; John Elzinga, ASC VP of Property Management; Janean Kinzie, ASC VP of Social Wellness & Enrichment; and Executive Chef Jeff Clawson of Gordon Food Service.
“These professionals did an impressive job given the challenging ingredients,” said Dennis Raney, Director of Culinary Services at ASC. Regarding Executive Chef Mike Minch, Raney believes that his calm demeanor and ingenuity contributed to his win. “Mike showed an incredible amount of focus and creativity today. This is why he is so well loved and respected at Rosegate and among his culinary peers at ASC.”
American Senior Communities offers many educational and career opportunities within their culinary department. With little to no experience, an employee can start as a culinary aide and progress in their career through roles like culinary cooks and certified dietary managers. ASC is also an employer partner of Ivy Tech’s Achieve Your Degree Program, through which ASC workforce can earn an associate degree or culinary certification from Ivy Tech.
“Our Culinary Managers put everything they have into what they do for our residents and fellow teammates. The innovation, presentation and thought that went into these dishes today made our job as judges pretty tough,” said guest judge and ASC CEO Steve Van Camp. “We applaud all of the competitors. It was a great day.”