Culinary, design competitions big hits at nursing home convention

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Two new spectacles garnered special attention this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging in Philadelphia: The Chef Challenge and the Last Designer Standing competitions.

Attendees flocked to the events, which were held on the exhibit hall floor throughout the show, which ended Wednesday. The Chef Challenge was a cook-off between teams of chefs from senior living communities. Two teams faced off each day to make a three-course meal in an hour. They also had to incorporate into their dishes secret ingredients that were disclosed only that day. (Brussels sprouts, pomegranate and striped bass were a few.) Competing were Aramark Senior Living Services, Sodexo Senior Services, Cura Hospitality and Morrison Senior Dining. The Cura team was named the winner Wednesday afternoon.

A few aisles down from the Chef Challenge was the Last Designer Standing, a competition featuring interior design students from nearby Drexel University. The students' task was to create a skilled nursing resident room with a particular resident from St. Ignatius Nursing Home in Philadelphia in mind. Two teams of students competed.

To see videos of these events, go to and click on the "Videos" link near the top. Or go to