NEWARK SENIORS COMPETE IN HEALTHY COOKING CHALLENGE
Published October 2, 2017 | Vince Baglivo
Elizabeth Rush cooking the chicken for the winning dish. Photo courtesy Vince Baglivo
Elizabeth Rush and Beverly Tolbert, representing the City View Landing Senior Apartments in Newark, made a masterful meal using quinoa and cumin to set their dish apart and take the top prize at the Horizon Healthy Cooking Challenge. The goal was to promote healthy-eating habits for seniors while showcasing delicious dishes that were not only nutritious but also fast and easy to prepare.
Presented in partnership with Greater Newark Conservancy, the event pitted five teams of two chefs representing Newark’s City View Landing, Bethany Senior Center, and Ironbound Senior Center in a challenge similar to the Food Network’s popular “Chopped” cooking competitions. The winners took home an array of new cooking supplies including measuring cups, aprons, and a beautiful set of pots and pans.
Each team was tasked with creating a delectable dish in just 45 minutes using four key ingredients – chicken, spinach, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes – plus additional ingredients, herbs, and spices of their choosing. Megan Sweet, Nutrition Education Coordinator, said many of the ingredients used by the competitors were sourced from the Conservancy’s urban farms in Newark.
The seniors were also treated to a breakfast buffet, tours of the gardens at the Conservancy’s Outdoor Learning Center, and the opportunity to try the “smoothie bike”, a pedal-powered blender creating healthy green smoothies.
In her welcome to the seniors and their families and friends, the Conservancy’s Executive Director Robin Dougherty thanked the event’s sponsors and supporters including Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, ShopRite of Newark, Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, and judges Vonda McPherson, the noted Newark restaurateur (who provided a healthy cooking demonstration), Thomas Clanton, representing the ShopRite of Newark and Tamara Remedios Campbell, editor of Newark Pulse and co-owner of Burger Walla on Halsey Street.
Beverly Tolbert presenting the winning dish. Photo courtesy Vince Baglivo
Dougherty also noted the support and participation of Conservancy board members Frank Adamo, Jonathan Pueschel, David Rosenberg and Sam Huber. Rosenberg, who serves as Vice President of Finance at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, said the health and wellness and nutrition-focused missions of the Conservancy and Horizon aligned well to benefit Newark residents through the cooking challenge and other community events.
Huber, who served as a judge for the challenge, added that while environmentally-focused education is always part of what the Conservancy does, the growth of its urban farming and nutrition programs was a perfect blend to help promote health and wellness in urban communities. “Seniors, children and families need practical knowledge about good health – we are helping to bring it all together,” he pointed out.
Tyesha Pichardo, Horizon’s Manager, Government Programs & Community Outreach, said the Conservancy’s outreach programs to seniors, including farm stands and the delivery of fresh produce to Newark’s senior centers, supported by grants from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and the Grotta Fund for Senior Care, are beneficial in helping Horizon connect with Newark residents.
“Sometimes people don’t see the big picture and recognize that as an insurance company, we are committed to health and wellness in the communities we serve,” she concluded. “Through collaborations like the Horizon Healthy Cooking Challenge with the Conservancy, we are demonstrating that we are here for them, care for them and are here to help.”
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