Gilbert Lewis, Chef, Sunrise of Reston readies the secret ingredient, pasta during a fiery battle to the finish at the Second Annual Taste of Sunrise-Iron Chef Competition.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
Sunrise at Reston Town Center hosted the Second Annual Taste of Sunrise-Iron Chef Competition in March. David Swiderski, Executive Chef Sunrise at Reston and reigning champion challenged chefs Gilbert Lewis and Bianca Escobar in the friendly competition.
The three chefs faced off in two categories, Dessert and Entree, presenting a total of six chef-selected, resident-inspired and community favorites to the panel of judges. Although the desserts and some entree preparations were done ahead of time, such as Escobar's fanciful Pavlova and Coconut Meringue spring flowers and the cutting of vegetables and measuring of spices, the chefs had to incorporate the "secret" ingredient, pasta into the entrée in live demonstrations. In the timed duel that followed, chefs raced to the countdown creating their main courses in 15 minutes.
Beyond being an opportunity for Sunrise residents, their families and staff to engage, enjoy, and learn, Nate Salisbury, Executive Director Sunrise Senior Living at Reston explained another reason for the event. He shared how the competition highlighted samples of six Sunrise Senior Living recipe favorites prepared using fresh seasonal ingredients that support the nutritional needs of seniors.
"What we are celebrating is our Taste of Sunrise Annual Campaign,” said Salisbury. “This event is designed to demonstrate our nutrition program at Sunrise Senior Living. We are cooking from-scratch menu items with seasonal ingredient. It's designed for the proper nutritional needs of our residents. These are our Signature Dishes."
The Judging Panel included Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill), Reston Association Supervisor Ashleigh Soloff and the Reston Community Center Program Director Karen Brutsche. Hudgins said, "I think Sunrise is doing a great job engaging the residents here." Judges rated the Entrees and Desserts on a scale of 1 to 5 based on presentation, flavor, and creativity.
Chef Swiderski, Sunrise at Reston won the First Place Best title for his Shrimp Lo Mein, a community favorite; Chef Escobar, Sunrise of Leesburg won Best Dessert and Chef Lewis of Countryside won the title Best Overall for both his dessert and main entrée. It earned him bragging rights as the declared winner and newest Sunrise Iron Chef.
Sunrise, based in McLean, has 320 locations nationwide, with many in our area, including Arlington, Alexandria, Mount Vernon, McLean, Springfield, Fairfax, Oakton, Burke, Fort Belvoir, Reston and Fair Oaks, among others.