This article is brought to you by sponsor of hometown news; Comfort Keepers, In Home Care

HOLMDEL, NJ:  When you drive down the sleepy part of Highway 34 in Holmdel, and pass CareOne Assisted Living, you might guess that it's a quiet sedentary place inside...quite the opposite. Administration at CareOne is always planning a plethora of exciting and unique activities to engage the mind, energize the body, and bring everyone together for a great social experience. Take for instance a few weeks ago, Heather Sanchez, Marketing Director at CareOne and Michele Fugett Director of Activities, planned an eventful fun and delicious afternoon of CareOne's own version of the reality cooking show called Chopped.

Three teams were competing: 

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  1. The Italian Studs-CareOne resident Vito Tonto & CareOne Chef Fabio: Vito, a true Italian from New York. A man of many jobs including a mailman and the doorman with the winning smile that greets everyone in the lobby! Vito, who in addition to English, speaks fluent Italian says, "The key to a good pasta is throw it and if it sticks, it's ready, if not, let it run! Vito's partner Fabio was born in Columbia. He came to America 35 years ago to make a better life for his family and himself. His father owned a restaurant in Columbia, which sparked his interest in culinary arts. He enjoys preparing delicious meals for the residents of CareOne
  2. The Big E & Steve-CareOne resident Eleanor and CareOne Chef Steve: Eleanor was always working and now enjoys her time reading the paper and going with the flow. Eleanor grew up cooking with her aunt where it wasn't cups and spoons but a pinch of this and handful of that. She makes sure she figured out the difference between her hand and her aunt so she could get the recipes right! Chef Steve was born and raised in Boston. He moved to NJ to open up a restaurant with a few friends. He worked in the restaurant for over 15 years. Now he serves delicious food and a smile to the residents. 
  3. Bubbles & Adrian-CareOne resident Ana and CareOne Chef Adrian: Ana worked in her brother's deli in Manhattan for many years. She always had a watchful eye on everything to make sure that it came out just right. Everything had to be perfect! Her favorite thing was Sunday dinners with the family cooking ravioli. Chef Adrian was born and raised in Barbados. He came to Ameria to build a better life for him and his family. He has over 15 years of experience in the culinary world. He transitioned to healthcare to make a positive impact on the resident's lives. 

Game on!!

It worked like this: There were 3 cooking stations set up at the front of the activity center room, facing a table for the three judges and plenty of seating for the many residents and guests that attended. CareOne had three of their executive chefs, each teamed up with a CareOne resident who has a creative passion for cooking. Each team of 2 were able to inspect the ingredients that were supplied for them to cook with, and come up with an original creative recipe. The cooking began and before long the entire room was full with the aroma of sauted garlic doing delicious things to the vegetables and proteins provided. There was steak and chicken, onions and peppers, garlic, breading, pasta...CareOne began passing out prepared appetizers just in time, as the entire room was salivating with the delicious smells coming from the Chef stations. 

The lucky three judges: Senior Vice President Procurement and Culinary Services for CareOne, Alison Fitzpatrick-Durski, Holmdel Mayor Eric Hinds and Chef Antonietta Picascia, owner of Dolci Catering in Holmdel, were charged with sampling all of the foods and making the tough decisions to pick those winners! 

CareOne Holmdel Administrator Terri Rufo welcomed everyone to the event and spoke about the award winning Chefs that CareOne employs. Ashley Lotito, CareOne Registered Dietician went over how the event was going to work and what ingredients were available....Marketing Director Heather Sanchez introduced the judges...

VIDEO: See and listen to an intro. of CareOne's Chopped:  


There was alot of excitment and socializing as the event took place. It was more like being at a big fun family party with great food and entertainment! There was alot of laughing and resident Chef Vito and Judge Antonietta Picascia enjoyed conversing in Italian together. The jokes kept coming and the contestant's food was obviously delicious as the judges were happily eating away. The judging was tough to call, and you can see and hear in this video Judge Eric Hinds explaining their decisions to choose the winners... 

VIDEO: And the results are in...


There was strong competitiveness going on... the votes were in and: Team Vito and Fabio won for presentation, Team  Ana and Adrian won for overall creativity and Team Eleanor and Steve won the best taste award.  The overall top winner was (drum roll!!) Ana and Adrian for their Chicken Cordon Bleu! A great and delicious time had by all!

For more information about CareOne in Holmdel, click here.