Schlegel Villages competes at the Healthy Hearts CHEF Challenge

Five top SV chefs showcase their skills at gala event for heart health

By Kristian Partington

During a gala evening on Feb. 2 at Toronto’s Bank of Montreal Institute for Learning, guests were treated to a world-class culinary experience led by some of the region’s top chefs. Their collective resumes include such kitchens as Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel or the Mumbai Taj Mahal Hotel and today, they all share one thing in common: their culinary talents are now offered to the residents of retirement communities.

George Madalena (centre) and his team of fellow
Schlegel chefs took part in the Challenge on Feb. 2.

George Madalena, hospitality director with The Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph, led the team from Schlegel Villages in the 2nd annual incarnation of The Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada’s Healthy Hearts CHEF Challenge. Alongside Mike Killip from Tansley Woods, Terence Paul from Arbour Trails, Jashua Jiminez from Wentworth Heights and Lee Stewart from Taunton Mills, George squared off against teams from Viva Retirement Communities, Delmanor Seniors Communities and Chartwell Retirement Residences. By random draw each team chose a specific protein with which they had to create an entrée that was both exquisite to taste and healthy for the heart.

Virginia Millar, hospitality consultant with Schlegel Villages Support Office, was a guest at the event and said it was wonderful to support a good cause while also showcasing the depth of talent leading the kitchens in some of the finest retirement homes in the province. She was especially proud of the Schlegel Villages team, which won the Creative Presentation Award for their slow-Roasted Veal Tenderloin with Ancient Grain Salad.

“They did a wonderful job,” Virginia says. “Our villages have such skilled people within their kitchens who do real cooking that is so good for the residents.”  

She points out that veal tenderloin or rack of lamb are typically reserved for special occasions, so an event such as this can be a great opportunity to let creativity flourish.

“It inspires them,” Virginia says. “I think it helps them focus on improving their day-to-day cooking, even with something more basic like meatloaf.”

     The top prize for Creative Presentation: Roasted Veal Tenderloin.

Fittingly, The Healthy Hearts Chef Challenge fell at the beginning of February, the month dedicated to raising funds and awareness of issues connected to heart health and stroke prevention.

The event raised money for and announced the establishment of the first Paediatric Exercise Medicine Room and cardiac rehab program for kids and adolescents in Canada at SickKids Hospital. It also opened guests’ eyes to the fact that residents in Schlegel Villages and their neighbouring communities are treated to some of the finest culinary talent in the region.

“It was a terrific opportunity to share a common interest with some fellow Chefs and share some knowledge of food ingredients that would otherwise be unused in a heart-healthy meal,” George says.

Guests also discovered that in the quest for a healthy, balanced diet, taste need never be compromised.

“We’re making a difference, one village at a time,” says George.

Download: Veal Tenderloin Recipe Card