Attendees are the winners at WWII BBQ and video event


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Viera Manor’s Don Saltzman fist bumps chef Brandy Nahass as marketing director Mike Marsden compliments their culinary efforts.

Chefs from three Viera-area senior communities racked up fan raves in the Battle for Best Barbecue at an Aug. 14 event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. 

Viera Voice sister newspaper Senior Life was the Space Coast host of “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive,” a national campaign that inspired many different kinds of events across the nation. The local event at Space Coast Convention Center in Cocoa drew more than 600 attendees that included WWII veterans, women and children who remember the day first-hand and veterans and members of the community of all ages.

Viera Manor veterans retirement community in Viera generated comments from attendees on its combination of spices in its smoked meats.

“Barbecue is right up our alley because our residents love very traditional America food,” chef  Brandy Nahass said as she dished up a sample.

Southern chefs Trevor Delaney and Darran Greenup of The Town Square welcomed comments that their barbecue brought back memories of down home.

Fans commented on the authentic taste of the offerings of The Town Square Wuesthoff Assisted Living in Viera. It’s not surprising since chef Darren Greenup is a barbecue veteran and teammate Trevor Delaney is a soul food-expert, both favoring dishes with Down South appeal.

“We got a lot of comments that our barbecue brought back sweet memories of down home,” Greenup said.

Palm Cottages in Rockledge duo Thomas Gurley and Monica Lucier took a third-place People’s Choice award and drew raves from fans for presentation. Gurley’s artistic German culinary background and Lucier’s love for variety and flair helped win the award, the pair agreed.

Thomas Gurley and Monica Lucier of Palm Cottages took third-place people’s choice for their dish.“Great tasting food is important, and we loved all the fantastic comments from attendees, but it’s also an important part of the dining experience to please the eye, which provides a good ambiance,” Gurley said. “The saying goes, ‘We eat with our eyes, first.’ ”

Other senior communities in the Barbecue Battle were Brookdale Senior Living, which took first-place People’s Choice, Grand Villa Senior Living Community, winning first-place Judges’ Choice and second-place People’s Choice, Buena Vida Estates, winning second-place Judges’ Choice and third-place People’s Choice, and Victoria Landing.

Starring attraction at the event was the “Spirit of  ‘45” video created by Senior Life, showcasing a sampling of 50 Space Coast residents interviewed about their first-hand experience of the day they heard that World War II was over.

In addition to the lunch provided by senior communities:

Dessert was provided by Consulate Health Care of Melbourne. 

Senior Life’s veterans publication Stripes sponsored live music of the era from Hot Cocoa.

Souvenir photos against a back-in-time green screen was sponsored by National Cremation Society.

Simplifying Senior Living provided bottled water.

Event sponsors included Indian River Colony Club, Wuesthoff Health System, Victory Florida, Health First Health Plans and the Florida Institute of Technology.

Funds raised at the free event allowed the all-volunteer Space Coast Honor Flight to send World War II veterans on a trip to see their battle memorials in Washington, D.C.

For information on the upcoming Senior Life Boomer Bash & Senior Expo with Veterans Salute Nov. 6, call 321-242-1235.

To see more images from the event, go to the photo gallery.