$25K donation follows Atria Chef Showdown in Sugar Land

Starspotter_ElsaNestled in the cozy neighborhood behind Highway 6 is where a charming senior living retirement community has been for over 16 years hosting events making it a treat to visit.

Just a couple of weeks ago in July, the Atria Chef Showdown 2016 took place at Atria Sugar Land on Soldiers Field Drive, which is right off Highway 6 opposite the Fluor Daniel area. Two chefs, one from the senior home facility in Sugar Land and the other from Atria Cypresswood, competed in a friendly way.

They served up unique, tasty food items, one with beef and the other with salmon, featuring watermelon as the secret ingredient to demine the winning selection. Both dishes were superb and to make the winning culinary creation official, Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman did the honors with his proclamation, serving with two other food tasting judges, including Luann York and yours truly.

(Submitted photo) From left, Atria – Cypresswood Executive Director Todd Werthman, Chef Justin Whited from Atria – Cypresswood, Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman, Chef Mike Brown of Atria - Sugar Land, Executive Director Kailan Rudolph and Ariana Martinez, Senior Engage Life Director, both of Atria – Sugar Land.

(Photo by Elsa Maxey)
From left, Atria – Cypresswood Executive Director Todd Werthman, Chef Justin Whited from Atria – Cypresswood, Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman, Chef Mike Brown of Atria – Sugar Land, Executive Director Kailan Rudolph and Ariana Martinez, Senior Engage Life Director, both of Atria – Sugar Land.

Mike Brown of Atria Sugar Land won the competition against Food Services Director counterpart Justin Whited from Atria Cypresswood. His food creation came with a special blend, mini watermelon margarita, which may have helped. Ariana Martinez, Senior Engage Life Director, said the in-house competition among the chefs of the two places was a bit different from last year’s spaghetti showdown with the Sugar Land firefighters competing at that one.

Giving this year’s annual chef competition special meaning is the fact that the Sugar Land facility has been housing residents of Atria Cypresswood, evacuated in April due to Houston area flooding this past spring. All the residents of that facility have been living temporarily at the Sugar Land and the Westchase Atria facilities. They are due to return to their home this month now that it has been reconstructed.

“A part of our heart is leaving us and going home to Cyrpresswood,” said Martinez.

She added that the local staff, which has been working at almost full capacity with 57 residents at the 60 resident capacity facility, prides itself in making each one of the residents feel like this is their home and that they live with family.

(Submitted photo) From left, Atria’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Tommy Wood, Regional Vice President, Abby Figeroa, Atria - Sugar Land Executive Director, Kaitlan Rudolph, and American Red Cross representative Mark Baker.

(Photo by Elsa Maxey)
From left, Atria’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Tommy Wood, Regional Vice President, Abby Figeroa, Atria – Sugar Land Executive Director, Kaitlan Rudolph, and American Red Cross representative Mark Baker.

In appreciation for the relief efforts of the Red Cross, on July 28, Atria Senior Living – Sugar Land presented a $25,000 donation to Mark Baker, representative from the American Red Cross in Houston for its community assistance during the recent flooding in the Houston area. This was when the Cypresswood Atria residents were displaced.

“We had a lot of accolades for the employees and team members and all the hard work they did,” said Atria’s Senior Vice President of Operations Tommy Wood.

This was “a time when you really have to count all your blessings,” he added indicating that “Red Cross is always there and fills in the gap, feeds people, provides shelter,” and much more.

“A lot of people weren’t so fortunate and we’re here to be thankful for what we’ve got and to give back a little bit,” said Wood.

Also present at the ceremony were Regional Vice President Abby Figeroa and Atria Sugar Land’s Executive Director Kaitlan Rudolph, who joined Wood in presenting the generous check to Baker.

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