updated 4/8/2011 12:17:32 PM ET 2011-04-08T16:17:32

LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 8, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Top culinary professionals from the healthcare industry will compete in the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) 2011 Culinary Competition held in conjunction with its annual conference in Phoenix, on June 7 at the Arizona Biltmore. Five competing teams will demonstrate their exceptional culinary talent and creativity, representative of the healthcare industry. Each team will have the challenge to utilize two ingredients provided by conference sponsor Tyson™ Food Service and create an appealing and nutritious entrée complete with side dishes, sauces and garnishes.

"The culinary competition is an AHF signature event and it is always thrilling to see innovative and delicious meals from self-operated healthcare representing facilities across the country," said AHF President Denisa Cate. "(AHF) nurtures the spirit of the best and brightest culinary talent and we are excited to provide an opportunity to showcase our superstars alongside this year's special guest judge Celebrity Chef Kathleen Daelemans, author, host and speaker."

Kathleen Daelemans Host of "Cooking Thin" on Food Network, author of "Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen, 200 Easy Recipes for Healthy Weight Loss" and "Getting Thin and Loving Food, 200 Easy Recipes to Take You Where You Want to Be!" said "It is truly my pleasure to participate in an event that raises the bar for healthcare foodservice.  AHF's culinary competition is a perfect illustration of healthcare foodservice having a positive impact and making a statement about the entire facility."

Each of the five selected culinary teams will be composed of a healthcare chef and their facility director. The actual competition has a format similar to Food Network challenges. There is a time limit of 75 minutes to prepare, cook and present the entrée and sides.

The winning dish must fit within the stated nutritional guidelines — cost under $5 to produce, and of course be delicious. These teams and their dishes will be judged on use of texture and color; originality; and plate presentation. The top three winners will be awarded prizes by Tyson™ Food Service and medals from AHF.

Friday April 8 is the deadline to become one of the final competing teams in Phoenix. A prospective team must complete the entry form for the competition. (Applications can be found at www.healthcarefoodservice.org .)

Illustrating creative and cutting-edge cuisine representative of healthcare facilities of today are 2010 competition winners Mary Jaskowski, director nutrition services and Executive Chef Bill Read from St. Mary's Health Care in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The winning dish from Bill and Mary was Pecan Goat Cheese Chicken and Cinnamon Bread Pudding. Catch video highlights from AHF's 2010 Culinary Competition on the AHF YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/AHFOnline

About AHF:

The Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) is the national professional association dedicated to advancing self-operated healthcare foodservice as industry best practice. AHF develops healthcare foodservice professionals, assuring food and nutrition services are valued as an essential contributor to the healthcare organization's mission. For more information, please visit: www.healthcarefoodservice.org .

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