Senior Dining Association

 Movie-makers have their Oscars, scientists have their Nobels, and writers have their Pulitzers. Now it’s time for senior dining professionals to get the recognition they deserve. The SDA’s awards program will ensure that the very best in this burgeoning industry receive appropriate kudos from their peers and that all senior dining professionals have something to aspire to. 


 We all love being recognized for our great ideas and hard work. Allow your staff to shine in competing for these awards that will gain you national recognition and the ability to market yourself as an award winning dining program. Inspire others with your innovation and culinary know-how. 

SDA Awards will be presented during the SDA Annual Conference & Expo.

Award recipient will receive:

An attractive award

Public recognition at the SDA Conference

Promotion through a press release to trade and industry media

Recognition in the SDA newsletter following the conference 

Public recognition on the SDA website for 1 year


SDA 2019 Award Winners


Sean Keating – Brandywine Living, Excellence in Operations Award, New Dining Concept - Chop House at Brandywine Alexandria


The Chop House is a dining experience which converts the traditional assisted living dining room into an upscale white tablecloth restaurant.  The Chop House is a monthly opportunity to experience a true steak house.  All items are cooked to order and served in true course fashion.
There were multiple positive outcomes to this concept, including elimination of food waste due to the cooked to order experience, enhanced resident satisfaction, and marketing differentiator.  The marketing departing has identified three sales directly attributed to potential residents enjoying a Chop House Meal.

Brandywine living is comprised of 30 predominately assisted living communities in located in 8 states.


Aaron Fish – Civitas Senior Living, Excellence in Operations Award, Special Event - Evening in Paris


The Civitas team created an "Evening in Paris" to celebrate the opening of their flagship community, Ridgelea. This event welcomed over 600 guests to a menu of butlered hors d'oeuvres, including service to the parking valet line! Action stations and an enormous charcuterie board. This event was instrumental in marketing the new community with over 35 leads and 11 actual deposits attributed. Additionally, while the event was planned by the corporate culinary team, the onsite team executed and learned from the experience.

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, Civitas Senior Living owns and operates a portfolio of 51 senior living communities located seven states. 


Robert Darrah, Legacy Retirement Communities, SDA Humanitarian Award

 Each year, Legacy Retirement Communities donate a full seven course dinners (including labor and location) to various organizations throughout the community for their fundraising events as a way to give back to the community. The entire auction price is donated to the charity.  These dinners have sold for $1000 up to $2500. Additionally, Legacy donates countless volunteer hours through the Employee Enrichment Council. This support of the greater community at large has instilled a sense of pride in the participating Dining Team members

Legacy Retirement Communities are based in Lincoln, Nebraska


Jonathan Pinsker, ACTS Retirement Life Communities, Excellence in Operations Award, New Dining Concept – Table-side Dining


In order to combat the monotony residents experience in dining every day at the same dining room, the dining team at ACTS St. Andrews South has created a monthly intimate dining experience by reservation.  This upgraded 4-course meal is served to approximately 20 residents. Three of the four courses are prepared table-side which allows the resident to the opportunity to interact with the chef and learn the details of the menu item they are about to enjoy.

The event sells out every month and has a waiting list.  Residents are proud to have this experience available in their community.
ACTS Life is comprised of 23 communities located in 8 states.


Kamal Elkadri, Henry Ford Village, Excellence in Operations Award, Special Event – Burger Battle


Henry Ford Village (located in Detroit) held an internal “Burger Battle”.  

The in-house culinary team entered various burger with the “Gouda Mac Hamburger” taking the prize. The team decided to take their winner even further and entered it to compete for “Best Burger in Detroit” Over 1400 people enjoyed the entries from multiple contestants.  The team from Henry Ford Village has been invited back to compete again this year, after placing in the top 5.

This experience changed the perception of senior living dining, introduced event goers to Henry Ford Village, and gave a great teamwork experience.


Winners of the 1st SDA Culinary Showdown!

 Chef Mohamed Tarawneh, Retirement Unlimited & Chef Ryan Wagner, Ohio Living.