Bringing the heat: Annual BBQ Chicken Cook-Off is successful

1st - Shaun, 2nd, Forrest, 3rd, VicThe sixth annual “Battle of the Tongs” BBQ Chicken Cook-Off continued to bring the heat to St. Michael’s Assisted Living. Not only did the competition have a record number of contenders, it also had the biggest turnout of attendees in event history.

“We had nine local chefs demonstrating their culinary skills during the Cook-Off and approximately 110 people including residents, family members and community members join us,” explained Cid Serva, Activities Director at St. Michael’s.
37907483_1921302074592476_1130613474536194048_nDuring the battle, held July 29, each local chef had their opportunity to impress the judges. Several returning competitors shared that they would be featuring a new flavor palette. Judges included Anna Rumpca, Judy Putz and Sharon Lisowski were randomly selected from the audience to ensure fairness.

The judges rated each dish on a scale, from 1 to 4, in the following categories: appearance, tenderness and taste. Shawn Gunderson claimed first place winning a custom paddle board engraved with “Battle of the Tongs.” Forrest Gunderson in second place and Vic Souders in third place.
New to the event this year was a dunk tank to help raise funds for the St. Michael’s kitchen renovation project. Administrator Tiffany Olson and Cook-Off winner Shawn were two of the volunteers to be dunked.

38046089_1921299944592689_7525178402223947776_n“It was kind of scary in the beginning. Our hairdresser, Kris Reese and her grandson Mason attended. He’s 7 or 8 years of age and plays baseball. He’s got an arm, if he came up you were going down,” Tiffany said. “The money raised was going to our kitchen project so it was worth every plunge into the water.”

More than 25 residents call St. Michael’s Assisted Living home today. We’ve been caring for individuals since 1947 within this same building. Our community kitchen is dated and we are actively updating the space. Your support is crucial to our efforts to update the kitchen where we serve more than 2,000 meals per month. Support our kitchen renovations online at