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Sunday, October 20, 2019

River Vale—A master chef cook off was held recently in an unlikely place: The Jewish Home’s Assisted Living Center.

The two chefs had to cook two dishes in the dining room, using five or six mystery ingredients, and could add other ingredients normally in JHAL’s kitchen. They were allowed 20 minutes to create an appetizer and 30 minutes to create an entrée and were evaluated on taste, originality of use of the secret ingredients, and presentation of the food.

The mystery box was rolled out for the appetizer and included salmon, honey roasted peanuts, avocado, mango, and spring roll wrappers; the mystery box for the entrée included a whole duck; veggie bacon, Belgian endive, Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda, shitake mushrooms and challah.

The participants were JHAL’s executive chef Jean Duroseau, Dominic Ackerman, executive chef at Jewish Home at Rockleigh, and Dana Cohen, the celebrity MC who appeared on Fox’s TV show,  Hell’s Kitchen.  A third runner-up from Season 10 and a resident of River Vale, Cohen helped plan the event with Executive Director Lauren Levant and other members of JHAL’s staff. It was fashioned after the popular TV cook off programs. Of course, Jewish Home Assisted Living is strictly kosher under the supervision of the R.C.B.C.

Each chef made three plates for each dish: two JHAL residents—Helen Goldberg and Joe Leeds—were the judges and in case of a tie, Chef Cohen would cast the deciding vote.

As each master chef cooked his dish, Dana Cohen kept up a running commentary on the progress of each dish and how each chef was using his mystery ingredients as well as commenting on additional ingredients used in the cooking.

When completed, the dishes were placed in front of the two judges who used a point system and had a very hard time deciding which one they liked best. The winner was JHAL’s Chef Jean Duroseau, but the vote was close.

The residents enjoyed the cook off. Chef Duroseau plans to recreate the dishes for JHAL’s residents one night in the near future. Everyone in the audience gave the three chefs a nice round of applause and many said how much they had enjoyed the cooking demonstration. Judge Leeds said, “It’s difficult to make a choice” while Judge Goldberg added, “I have fun wherever I go.”  This was one just of many events planned throughout the year for the enjoyment of JHAL’s residents.

The Jewish Home Assisted Living is a non-profit, state-of-the-art facility that provides assisted living for the elderly in Bergen, North Hudson, and Rockland counties. JHAL and its sister facility, the Jewish Home at Rockleigh, the Jewish Home Foundation, and now the Jewish Home at Home are part of the Jewish Home Family, Inc., whose mission it is to develop and oversee the best of care, services, and advice for the elderly and their families at home and in their facilities, now and in the future, consistent with Jewish tradition and values. For further information, call 201-666-2370.