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Fitzsimons Takes Top Prize at First Ever “Great CDHS Cook-Off”

posted Sep 2, 2015, 3:22 PM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS
Linda Rihel, with the Colorado State Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons stands with Reggie Bicha, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services, left, and Greg Ryan, nursing home assistant administrator at Fitzsimons. She is holding the first place trophy for the inaugural “Great CDHS Cook-Off,” held June 19. The culinary competition brought together top chefs from 17 direct care facilities across Colorado. Rihel earned the top prize for Fitzsimons with her chicken and waffle specialty.
June 19, 2015 (Aurora, CO) – “I can’t believe it,” exclaimed Linda Rihel, hands shaking from adrenaline, after hearing her name and facility called at the culmination of the inaugural “Great CDHS Cook-Off.”

Rihel’s chicken and waffle dish, which she’s prepared more times than she can count for the residents of the Colorado State Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons, beat out entries from 16 other direct care facilities from around Colorado at the department-wide culinary event, June 19. To qualify, each of the food entries were limited to a dish that has been served to CDHS clients in a care
facility.

The chicken gumbo entry earned the Platte Valley Youth Services Center team recognition as the second place dish, while Kate Russell’s green chili and Dorothy Chambers’ cinnamon rolls earned the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan and Colorado State Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake each an Honorable Mention.

According to Reggie Bicha, executive director for the Colorado Department of Human Services, all the competing facilities, their chefs and their clients, are all winners.

"The food you make every day for the people we serve at CDHS is creative, healthy and downright delicious," declared Bicha in congratulating all the competitors.

The award for culinary excellence derives its name from Dorothy Chambers, a care giver who is retiring after more than 22 years of serving delicious, nutritious meals at the Colorado State Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake. Chambers endeared herself to the local residents at Homelake and Bicha with her warmth, commitment, and of course, her famous cinnamon rolls. Her legacy of
dedication to quality care will live on in the annual culinary award that bears her name.

As for the residents at Fitzsimons, anticipation is sure to grow for the Veterans Community Living Center cafeteria’s next chicken and waffle day, now that it’s the standard bearer for direct care facility dining.

Participating facilities included:

State Veterans Community Living Centers:

Colorado State Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons
Colorado State Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake
Bruce McCandless State Veterans Community Living Center at Florence
Colorado State Veterans Community Living Center at Rifle

Colorado Mental Health Institutes:

Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan
Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo

Department of Youth Corrections Service Centers:

Marvin Foote Youth Services Center
Mount View Youth Services Center
Spring Creek Youth Services Center
Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center
Adams Youth Services Center
Grand Mesa Youth Services Center
Pueblo Youth Services Center
Platte Valley Youth Services Center
Zebulon Pike Youth Services Center
Gilliam Youth Services Center
and Wheat Ridge Regional Center.

The Cook-Off competition promotes excellence in care and service and is in keeping with the Colorado Department of Human Services’ mission, to design and deliver high quality human and health services that improve the safety, independence, and well-being of the people of Colorado.
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Nicole Grabowski - CDHS,
Sep 2, 2015, 3:22 PM
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