High school students cook for seniors to celebrate National Nutrition Month

Publish Date:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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Dayton Daily News

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CENTERVILLE —

Brighton Gardens, a Centerville assisted living facility, showcased some of its signature entrees and desserts as a way to recognize March as National Nutrition Month.

“Our residents have some favorite dishes,” said Darrell Woods, executive director of Brighton Gardens. “We have activities here that focus on mind, body and spirit and we wanted to do something unique and different around our popular menu items.”

Brighton Gardens Activity Director Judy Dewalt came up with an idea to have a “culinary cook-off” involving local high school students, Woods said.

“We were aware that Centerville High School has a culinary program and we decided to invite them to participate in a judged competition during which they would prepare our residents’ favorite dishes,” Woods said.

The three teams of three students each worked together during the timed competition. One team included senior students while the two other teams represented the junior class. The competition was timed and all the groups made the same dishes, Greek salad with shrimp, vegetable quesadilla with pico de gallo and a fruit parfait.

Four judges, all residents of Brighton Gardens, sampled dishes from the teams and judged them taste, texture and presentation. The teams had a total of one hour to finish the three dishes.

Judges included Phil Longo, a now retired Dayton restaurant owner, who has managed the Yankee Tavern and The Peasant Stock restaurant, said he chose Brighton Gardens as his residence because he liked the food choices.

“The food is really good here,” he said. “And that was a condition for me.”

Joining Longo to judge the competition were Brighton Gardens residents Ruth Edmondson, who once owned a restaurant in Dayton, Helen Thomas and Millie Worley.

The Centerville High School culinary program currently has 38 students enrolled and according to their teacher, Mark Mitrovich, the Brighton event represented an opportunity for his students to give back to the community.

“This has definitely created a rivalry among the students but it’s also a terrific outreach opportunity,” Mitrovich said. “I think it’s neat for them to do inter-generational things and get out of their own bubbles.”

Mitrovich, a former Optimist Club member, said he developed a great sense about volunteering over the years and recognizes how important it is for young people to learn from senior citizens. A teacher at Centerville High School for the past four years, Mitrovich has a culinary degree and came to the Dayton area 15 years ago and has cooked for several restaurants.

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