Pride in Food Service Week – February 5-9, 2018
Semcac’s Senior Nutrition Program provides meals for congregate diners and to Meals on Wheels recipients that live independently in their own homes or apartments. To serve some of these clients, we operate eight kitchens. These kitchens produce approximately 1,000 noon meals per day. The meals are prepared from scratch with menus and recipes consistent throughout the service area. In these kitchens, there are 2 to 3 cooking staff. Throughout the year, the Head Cooks come together to receive training.
The staff was challenged, in each kitchen, to produce a soup that would appeal to our senior population and that doesn’t already exist in our recipe file. The ingredients had to be available on our order guide through our prime vendor, and the recipe could be quantified to use in our kitchen and be included in our recipe file. With the upcoming meeting, the Head Cook from each kitchen would bring their selected prepared soup for this event.
First of all, it started locally in each of the eight kitchens which are located throughout the 11 counties that we operate food service in Southeastern Minnesota. In a couple of the kitchens, they had their own cook-off among the three staff to determine which one would be brought to the overall program event. All the cooks in all of eight kitchens were involved whether they were the Head Cook or the Assistant Cook.
The panel of judges consisted of a food bank employee, a Reinhart dietitian, and our Program Director who is a registered dietitian. The criteria the judges used were as follows: taste, appearance, aroma, nutrition, and originality with scores of 1-5. The contestant with the highest overall score won.
This effort encouraged teamwork to be creative and take pride in producing one recipe to be shared with the other seven kitchens. They had to think about the client preferences when creating their recipe. Also, it’s important to be able have fun while working—this event was FUN!
The recipes that were a part of the contest are as follows:
- Winning recipe: Taco Soup by Team Owatonna: Missy Herrian and Amber Schultz
- 2nd place-tied: Cream Asparagus Soup by Team Rochester: Dave Friedrich and Jody Prebe and Bacon Tomato Barley Soup by Team Albert Lea: Nancy Jensen and Suan Asplund
- 3rd place: Vomacka by Team Northfield: Ruth Coffing and Sue Keppers
Tomato Basil Soup by Team Red Wing: Kim Frandrup, Linda Schultz, and Terry Bolland
Fettuccine Alfredo Soup with Chicken by Team Faribault: Pam Kirkpatrick and Lynette Fleck
Crock Pot Cabbage Soup by Team Rushford: May Himlie, Joyce McNeill and Judy Michaelson
Pork Vegetable Soup by Team Winona: Donna Ciangiola, Debby Calhoun, and Lynette Loth