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LEXINGTON, KY. – Morning Pointe Senior Living is proud to announce Mike Zeully, food services director at The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence, Lexington, placed national top 10 in the 2016 Premier Culinary Creations Contest – a national cooking competition organized by U.S. Foodservice and Premier Inc.

Zeully was one of three Morning Pointe food services directors to enter a submission in the Healthy Center of the Plate challenge. The entries followed key criteria: to qualify, meals featured one entree and one side, and the entire meal could not exceed 500 calories.

Zeully’s dish featured boneless, blackened tilapia with roasted corn and a black bean salad, all drizzled with a creamy avocado aioli in a RSBT-free, low-fat Greek yogurt base. Colorful ingredients and fresh flavors, such as cilantro and lime, were carefully plated to accentuate the fish entree.

“My goal was to create a dish that would taste good, but would remain low on calorie count and sodium content,” he wrote on his entry form. “I thought the black beans would be a brain-healthy food along with the avocado in the dish.”

Zuelly's dish featured boneless, blackened tilapia with roasted corn and a black bean salad, all drizzled with a creamy avocado aioli in a RSBT-free, low-fat Greek yogurt base. Colorful ingredients and fresh flavors, such as cilantro and lime, were carefully plated to accentuate the fish entree.

Zeully’s dish featured boneless, blackened tilapia with roasted corn and a black bean salad, all drizzled with a creamy avocado aioli in a RSBT-free, low-fat Greek yogurt base.

Zeully said his competition entry was inspired by the memory care residents at The Lantern. He said he finds pride in the comments from residents, who get the opportunity to enjoy fresh, new flavors in nutritionally balanced meals.

Zeully’s dishes ensure each resident enjoys a healthy helping of foods that nourish their unique nutritional needs and satisfies their changing senses.

“With The Lantern residents, I found that sight and smell are even more important because, with memory loss, some residents have a hard time identifying certain dishes,” he shares. “I tried to cover the whole spectrum of colors to appeal to both lower- and higher-functioning residents.”

The 33-year-old from Springfield is a self-taught chef.  He began working at The Lantern at Lexington in 2014.

“Mike always has great focus on serving flavorful, healthy food to our residents,” says Mike Woods, corporate dining director at Morning Pointe Senior Living. “[He] is a strong supporter of searching for new products in the market to serve our residents food with color, taste and nutrition. Mike’s experience and talent with food has proven to be a real strength for our residents at Morning Pointe.”

6/14/2016 – Mike Zeully was also recognized at the annual Premier Foodservice conference in Washington D.C., alongside other top 10 finishers in the National Culinary Contest.