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Ultimate Chef America




The Ultimate Chef of America 2010 Revealed

Chosen from more than 430 chefs within Brookdale Senior Living communities across the nation, Chef Elisabeth Archer of Grand Court Tavares, a Brookdale Senior Living assisted living community in Florida, has been awarded the much sought-after and coveted culinary award of 2010, Ultimate Chef America.

Throughout 2010, the culinary professionals of Brookdale Senior Living, a leading owner and operator of senior living communities throughout the United States, put on a year-long series of first-class cooking competitions nationwide from Phoenix to Jacksonville with stops along the way in Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Atlanta. At each event, two teams of senior living chefs had two hours to produce four courses with the theme of healthy cooking, using only a grill.

Dishes prepared by the chefs were judged on-site by a panel of five celebrity judges headed by Leeza Gibbons and a Brookdale resident with a culinary background. The teams won awards for taste, creativity and presentation. In addition, each individual chef was awarded points on his or her dish, with the chef earning the highest points awarded the biggest honor of the year, the Ultimate Chef America title.

Archer was born and raised in Nuremberg, Germany, and educated in nutrition and child development. She moved to the United States and worked as a cook at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. She has worked in various roles in hospitals and skilled nursing centers, and joined Brookdale Senior Living as the dining room manager at Grand Court Tavares in 2009. Here, she enjoys making a difference daily in the lives of the residents she serves.

Chef Lisa Archer is the newly-crowned Ultimate Chef America for Brookdale Senior Living.

Chef Lisa Archer, newly-crowned Ultimate Chef America, hugs server Ashley Maufroy of Grand Court Tavares.

Chef Lisa Archer, newly-crowned Ultimate Chef America, celebrates with resident Marino Deberardinis of Grand Court Tavares.

Each event showcased the talents of Brookdale’s professional chefs, who created dishes that were not only flavorful and unique, but were made especially for less sensitive senior palates. Chef Archer’s winning dish was a dessert, a triple berry tiramisu.

“Cooking for seniors requires special training and expertise because the sensitivity of taste buds and palates change with age, so the flavors have to be bolder and richer and the textures of foods need to be more ‘senior friendly’ as well,” said Joska Hajdu, Brookdale’s senior vice president of Dining Services and an executive chef by trade. “That’s one reason why the participating chefs and their creations are special; they are created with passion and an intensity that surpasses food served in other venues.”

“The Ultimate Chef America creations revealed the level of sophistication of the competing chefs, as well as providing insights into the meals they are capable of preparing for their residents,” said Hajdu. “Each dish prepared revealed a depth of flavor, richness and textures, with culinary presentations on a scale that far exceeded expectations.”

In addition, winners from each of the six events nationwide have been announced. They are:

  • Phoenix: Jeffery Amperse, director of Dining Services for Brookdale Place Paradise Valley, AZ.
  • Dallas: William Anchondo, director of Dining Services for Town Village North Dallas.
  • Denver: Ben Donovan, director of Dining Services for Heritage Club Denver.
  • Detroit: Richard Lamoureux, Dining Services coordinator of Wynwood Northville in Michigan.
  • Atlanta: Joe Carey, director of Dining Services for Carriage Club Charlotte.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.: Elisabeth Archer, director of Dining Services for Grand Court Tavares in Florida.

Ultimate Chef America, however, was much more than a professional cooking competition. Each event was a celebration of great food and life fulfillment. In each of the six locations, residents and guests were in the audience for live talk shows with celebrity judges and senior health and culinary experts that were streamed over the Internet and broadcast to other Brookdale communities. The competition also featured seminars on food, wine and seasonings, presented by experts on each topic. There were also guided tours of the host community; a silent auction benefiting the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation and its signature program Leeza’s Place, “A Place for Caregivers,” a community gathering place and resource center for family caregivers impacted by chronic or progressive illness; and a business expo highlighting the event’s sponsors, including Nestle Vitality, Nestle Professional, Advanced Foods, Walgreens, Tyson Foods, Royal Cup, Fidelity Print, Ecolab, SCA and Entegra.

The six events have welcomed, entertained and served almost 5,000 guests. The silent auctions conducted at the events have raised more than $100,000 to support the work of the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation and $16,000 to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

 “Ultimate Chef America also gave our residents and those considering a move to a Brookdale community a first-hand experience with our concept for living, Optimum Life,” said Sara Terry, vice president of Optimum Life for Brookdale Senior Living. 

A way of life offered exclusively by Brookdale Senior Living at its communities, Optimum Life®, focuses on six key dimensions - emotional, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and purposeful.
“Ultimate Chef America has been a successful event for Brookdale and its communities, for its residents, associates and guests and for the worthy causes that we have supported through this program,” said Hajdu.  “The formidable skills of our associates and the selfless dedication to serving others that they bring to their residents every day has been highlighted and rewarded.”

More information about Ultimate Chef America can be found at and

Ultimate Chef America Brochure (PDF)



UCA Videos



UCA Recipes




Asian Style Grilled Scallops with Somen Noodle Salad and Cilantro Vinaigrette

Full Recipe (PDF)






Shrimp Cocktail with Fresh Avacado and Mango Salsa

Full Recipe (PDF)





Lobster and Shrimp Bisque with Fresh Tarragon

Full Recipe PDF








Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola and Chive Mousse

Full Recipe PDF








Apple and Fennel Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cranberry Chutney

Full Recipe PDF








Puree of Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Twist

Full Recipe PDF








Crystal Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with Fresh Whipped Creme and Seasonal Berries

Full Recipe PDF








Silky White and Dark Chocolate Creme with Raspberry Chambord Coulis

Full Recipe PDF






Judge Bio's

  Leeza Gibbons
Founder, Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation

Leeza Gibbons founded the Leeza's Place in response to the challenges Leeza and her family encountered while seeking specific and needed support, Leeza's Place is a potent source of information, strength and purpose.  Leeza's Place was designed to ensure that others experiencing what the Gibbons family encountered would have access to new, supportive settings created for the purpose of educating, empowering and energizing. Learn more about Leeza at

  Dr. Kevin O'Neil, MD, FACP, CMD
Medical Director, Brookdale Senior Living

A graduate of Boston College and Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr. O'Neil has practiced and taught geriatric medicine for more than 27 years. Dr. O'Neil is  a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Geriatrics Society. He has been recognized as a Certified Medical Director by the American Medical Directors Association. Dr. O'Neil is co-editor and a contributing writer to Optimal Aging Mannual, which Art Linkleter has called "the great master book for the boomers."


Shannon Miller
Gold Winning USA Gymnast

Shannon Miller is the only American to rank among the Top 10 All-Time Gymnasts and is the only female athlete to be inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame twice; (Individual in 2006 and Team 2008). During her career, she has won 59 International and 49 National competition medals, over half of which are Gold. Today, Shannon Miller is President of Shannon Miller Lifestyle: Health and Fitness for Women, as well as an author, television personality, and host of Shannon Miller Lifestyle Radio, presented by St. Vincent’s Health Care. She holds a BBA in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Houston and her law degree from Boston College.

  Fred Funk
PGA Pro Golfer

A resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Fred Funk enjoys skiing – either in water, or through the snow, although his real claim to fame is on the PGA Tour; which he has been doing professionally since 1981. This year, two years after winning the JELD-WEN Tradition in Oregon, Fred Funk added a second title at the same event to his resume. The victory also gave him at least one victory in five straight seasons. SPAN>

  Jeremy Bloom
A Wish of a Lifetime Foundation

Jeremy Bloom is a three-time World Champion, two-time Olympian and eleven-time World Cup gold medalist snow skier. In 2005, he won a record six-straight World Cup races, the most in a single season in the sport's history. He was also an All American football player at the University of Colorado and has played at wide receiver and return specialist for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

  Dewey McClain
Pro Football Player

A native of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Dewey McClain signed with the Atlanta Falcons fresh out of college in 1976 as a Linebacker.  He played with Falcons for five years before moving to the United States Football League (USFL).  He also played for two years in that league with the Oakland Invaders and the Oklahoma Outlaws.


Dino Ciccarelli
NHL Hockey Player

Dino Ciccarelli is a native of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada and a former professional hockey player who played 19 seasons in the National Hockey League, primarily with the Minnesota North Stars. His 651 points are the fourth highest in club history, and third-most when taking into account only statistics accumulated before the team moved to Texas.

  Dave Rozema
MLB Baseball Player

Dave Rozema was born in Grand Rapids,MI, and has enjoyed a distinguished career as a Major League pitcher. He played two years for Detroit in the minor leagues, amassing a 27 -9 record. In 1977, he was moved up to the Major League, where he played with the Detroit Tigers for eight years. That year he was named Rookie of the Year, and Rookie Pitcher of the Year. In 1984 he was a member of the World Series Championship Team.

  Warren Bryne
Host of The Restaurant Show

Warren has hosted The Restaurant Show in Denver since 1978. Every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning on The Restaurant Show on KEZW AM radio, listeners learn about specific restaurants and dishes.  When people ask Warren how he became interested in food, he often quips that he began eating as a baby, and it just became a habit. 

     Kellie Rasberry
  Radio Talk Show Host

Kellie Rasberry is a strong-willed single mom with an unapologetic love for celebrities and an opinion on just about everything. Having aspirations for stardom at an early age — "I always wanted to be an actress on a sitcom"— Kellie now gets to live a real-life sitcom, working with Kidd Kraddick in the Morning. Kellie is the proud mother of a beautiful daughter named Emma Kelly and a Yorkie Poo-Poo named George.

  Chef Bronwen Weber
Executive Chef, Frosted Art Bakery & Studio

After Celebrated on the Food Network as one of the top pastry chefs in the nation, Bronwen took home the Grand Prize at the 2005 Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show, the most prestigious wedding cake competition in America. Selected as the best from amongst a field of over 600 competitors, Chef Bronwen's winning Bombay Romance Cake was featured on Food Network's "Here Comes the Cake" production broadcast in February of this year.

  Dr. Jamie Huysman
Co-author of Take Your Oxygen First

“Dr. Jamie” is the co-author of America's number one book on caregiving, Take Your Oxygen First.   Today, he is the Executive Director and Co-founder of The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation. LGMF's signature program is Leeza's Place,   "A Place for Caregivers," a dynamic national program aimed at dealing with the burnout and compassion fatigue challenges of caregivers across the country. Take Your Oxygen First went immediately to number one on Amazon as the top caregiver resource available anywhere.

  Lois De Domenico
Co-creator of Rice-A-Roni

Lois De Domenico is the co-creator of Rice-A-Roni, the iconic convenience food known across the country as “The San Francisco Treat.” A major Bay Area philanthropist, she has served on the boards of Mills College, East Bay Community Foundation, the Oakland Ballet, and KQED. In 1997 she was named philanthropist of the year by the Northern California Chapter of the National Society for Fund Raising Executives (now Association of Fundraising Professionals).

  Marya Piani
News Anchor

Marya Piani has been with CBS-5 News since 1995 when she started as a reporter. Before joining CBS-5, she graduated from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Broadcasting and reported for WHOI-TV in Peoria, Ill.  Marya was born in Santa Monica, California. She says she's wanted be a reporter ever since 4th grade, when she played one in a school play.


Corporate Chef Bio's

  Chef Tim Cornish
Regional Director of Dining Services, North Division

As a graduate of Johnson and Wales University in 1978 with a degree in Culinary Arts, Tim spent over twenty one years as an Executive chef in local country clubs and restaurants. He is a Certified Executive Chef from the American Culinary Federation and joined Brookdale in 1999 as the Director of Dining Services at Chatfield. He is currently one of the faculty members of the Culinary Arts Institute at Brookdale and oversees communities in the North Division as a Regional Director of Dining Services.

  Chef Luciano Silva
Freedom Village At Bradenton, Bradenton Florida

After graduation culinary school in Brazil Luciano came to the United States and joined the American Culinary Federation. During his career as an Executive Chef he has had the opportunity to work at some of the top hotels and Five Diamond Resorts around the United States and the Caribbean and is a Professional Chef Member of the James Beard Foundation and the American Culinary Federation. Luciano joined Brookdale at the Freedom Village of Bradenton in 2005.

  Chef Robert Davis
Regional Director of Dining Services, North Division

After graduating from both the Culinary Institute of America and Florida International University, Bob worked in various fine dining hotels and restaurants, from there he joined Marriott for ten years as Divisional Chef and Director of Dining.

Bob joined Brookdale in 1998 as the Director of Dining Services at Freedom Village Brandywine. He is currently one of the faculty members of the Culinary Arts Institute at Brookdale and oversees communities in the North Division as a Regional Director of Dining Services.


  Chef Bob Havens
Corporate Director of Culinary Services

As a graduate of Johnson and Wales University with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Bob has spend over 25 years in the hotels, restaurants, as well as senior housing. Bob joined Brookdale in fall 2003 as Regional Director of Dining Services.

Bob, who has a strong passion for food, has been instrumental in developing several large projects including menu and recipe development, new associate training, as well as the award winning Dollars and Sense Talk Show.



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