Teams competing in the ACF National
Championship Cooking for Life, are, left
to right, top: Atria Senior Living—James
Connolly, CEC, and Ronda Watson, RD;
HCA Healthcare—MaryAnn Moser, RD, and
Robert Gillentine, CC; Morrison Management
Specialists—Miles McMath, CEC, CDM, left,
and Paul Jensen, CEC, CCA, AAC; and left to
right, bottom: Sodexo—Brian Ray, CEC, left,
and Jonathan Long, CDM; and Texas Health
Resources—Sam Samuels, RD, left, and Kelly
Cook, CEC, AAC.
Resources was the last team to begin, at
11: 15 a.m., with Kelly Cook, CEC, AAC, and
Sam Samuels, RD, LD.
By the time the last team was onboard,
there were smoking guns, homemade
smokers and a few other gadgets going
a mile a minute, with tantalizing aromas
wafting throughout the trade show floor.
I had heard a rumor that there would be trash
talking, such as happens on “Iron Chef,”
but these teams were busy and needed
to concentrate on their kitchens. In fact, I
didn’t hear the teams talk to one another at
all. What I did notice was that some teams
worked at a steady, leisurely pace and others
seemed to be busy and in perpetual motion
right up until the plating window opened.
sure they met the criteria and percentages
prescribed. You could feel the tension as the
tasting took place in front of each kitchen.
The competitors would sneak peeks at the
judges’ faces to see any reaction, or try to
read their lips as they discussed each dish.
AND THE WINNER IS. . .
With the competition complete, team
members could relax for the first time since
the convention began. They would have to
wait until Monday evening, however, to learn
who had won.
At the Glass Cactus Party, Michael Ty,
CEC, AAC, thanked all five teams for
their participation. He then announced
the results. Winning a bronze medal was
HCA Healthcare. Texas Health Resources
earned a silver medal. The tension built as Ty
prepared to announce the winner. It was the
team from Morrison Management Specialists,
Jensen and McMath, earning a gold medal.
This competition and these competitors
proved that low-calorie/low-sodium food
can taste good. I hope other chefs and
dietitians can duplicate what happened
in Dallas as they cook in their venues.
We now know that chefs and dietitians
can work side by side to help make good,
Paul C. Jensen Sr. of Holtsville, N. Y., is the
retired chef/owner of Jensen’s Caterers and
a member of ACF Long Island Chapter.
The judging team was made up of a floor
judge, three tasting judges and a registered
dietitian. The dietitian went over all the
weights and did the calculations to make
The 2011 ACF National Championship: Cooking for Life is sponsored by Dansko, MenuMax and Sodexo.