Director of Culinary Services at Atria Darien Carrington Parker, recently challenged Darien Police Sergeant Keri Isaac to a cooking competition as part of Atria Senior Living’s annual Chef Showdown. The showdown is a culinary competition taking place at more than 200 Atria communities across the U.S. and Canada and is now in its fifth year.
Engage Life director Beth Blake at Atria explained why they hold this annual showdown, saying, “We believe people belong together, which is why we continuously look for partnerships and opportunities that allow our residents to engage with the broader community outside the walls of our buildings with the goal of creating fun, rewarding events for everyone involved.”
There was only one rule to the showdown: all recipes must include summer’s most highly disputed ingredient, the tomato. The competition was judged by a panel of leaders in the local community, including Atria residents Gus Cappadona, Lois Worcester, and Sally Donohue and Detective Beth Dilorio and Officer Mauricio Vigil of the Darien Police Department.
For the judges, it was Worcester and Donohue’s fifth time, both saying they’ve enjoyed it every year. As for Dilorio and Vigil, it was their first time but attended to support their fellow member of the police department. Judging was based on overall taste, plating, and originality.
Before the competition began, Sgt. Isaac said she was going to prepare fish tacos and was a bit worried about her competition, saying, “Who knows, he’s a chef.” Isaac has been apart of the Darien Police Department for 18 years and served in the Air Force for seven years before that.
When the time came, both chefs attended their workspaces and began chopping. Isaac prepared mahi mahi fish tacos with mango as her special ingredient and Chef Parker prepared steak with a salsa including pine nuts.
Once the judges had completed their two meals and the votes were tallied up, the winner of the chef showdown was chef Carrington Parker.