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Top chefs

Female duo beats out two all-male teams in cuisine competition

Created date

July 23rd, 2013

If you d told me five years ago I d be onstage doing a cook-off, I d have said you re out of your mind, says Ann s Choice resident Terry Scorpio. I m doing a lot of things here I never would have done before. That happens all the time. People who move to Erickson Living s community in Bucks County, Pa., embark on journeys of exploration, pursue interests they didn t know they had, and form deep friendships they didn t expect to discover.

Lucky contestant

The cook-off Terry participated in was the first annual Top Chef Challenge atAnn s Choiceheld this May before a large audience in the community s performing arts center. I wanted to get a ticket to view the contest, Terry says, and the lottery box to participate in the challenge was there. So I put my name in and was lucky enough to be drawn. Three teams competed in the 30-minute challenge to prepare a prize-winning entr e using the same five surprise ingredients of scallops, pre-cooked risotto, spinach, canned peaches, and jalapeno peppers. A resident and an Ann s Choice chef de cuisine comprised each team. Terry was paired with Lisa Sweeney, chef de cuisine at Rose Gardens, the community s on-site continuing care neighborhood where Sweeney prepares upscale menus to suit both traditional palates and special diets. Competing against two all-male teams, the women took top prize with their plate of poached scallops atop pine nut- and spinach-infused risotto capped by Terry s pepper-spiced peach salsa. Terry s berry-and-peach puree added a bold streak of color that contributed to their victory. We were ecstatic with our win! Sweeney says. As was Terry, whose husband Ed had been in the front row cheering her on. It was a tough competition, Terry adds. All the chefs at Ann s Choice do such an outstanding job every day. There are 2,000 residents and so many different appetites, and they try to please us all.

Life beyond the limelight

The Scorpios moved from nearby Holland just ahead of winter two years ago. Because their house sold immediately after they d listed it with an Erickson Realty and Moving Services preferred agent, they moved months before they d expected to. I came here to retire, says Terry, but I ve never been so busy. Or so happy, she says. Before, she d been quiet and self-contained. I did my own thing and didn t socialize much, she says. Although she knew Ann s Choice offered more than 155 groups and activities, she didn t plan to take part in them. But being in this community has filled a socialization need I didn t know I had, Terry says. Things just happen here. The community makes you be a part of it. The atmosphere, the energy, the people you re surrounded with pull you into that energy. She s not only attending classes in the Ann s Choice Lifelong Learning Academy (ACLLA), she s on the ACLLA committee. She s on the dining room committee, too. I enjoy everything I m doing, Terry says.