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Spectrum Heats Up St. Louis with Its First Salsa-Tasting Competition

in Resident Stories

Six area communities teamed up to raise money for Cardinals Care


St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter better watch out. His Bueno Mojo salsa, a regional hit, faces stiff competition from Spectrum Retirement Communities.

Six Missouri Spectrum communities came together recently to host their first-ever salsa-tasting competition. Although the ultimate goal is to pit the winning salsa against Carpenter’s famous recipe, the event also raised money for Cardinals Care, the baseball team’s foundation dedicated to improving the lives of local children.

Spectrum launched the salsa competition as a way for residents to get to know one another and to get involved in the community at large. “We want our residents to continue to have purpose and pursue activities they enjoy,” says Southview Assisted Living sales director Jenny Murie. “We have gardens in our communities with fruits and vegetables. Someone suggested we grow vegetables for salsa, and our vice president of sales suggested a community challenge.”Smash Salsa Judge

The community challenge then grew to become a Carpenter challenge. “It’s Gotta be the Salsa,” the slogan the Cardinals used last year, became, “It’s Gotta be the Spectrum Salsa.”

Why the fuss about salsa? Last summer, Carpenter created a secret recipe. He used it on almost everything he ate. Then, he set a record in a July series against the Chicago Cubs with 12 extra base hits in a row. Other teammates tried Carpenter’s special salsa, and the team advanced to the top three of the Central League National Division.

Soon after, Carpenter partnered with local grocery chain Schnucks to make his secret salsa available to the public. You’ll find it in the deli section of any St. Louis-area Schnucks for $6.99.


Spectrum Residents Take Leading Roles

The salsa-tasting competition started with challenges within each Spectrum community. Residents took responsibility for recipe creation, preparation, name and label design. “Southview had seven or eight entries,” says Murie. “Residents and their families created their own salsas using vegetables from the community garden or farmers’ market. Then we had an event and invited family and friends to come taste and vote.”

The winners then advanced to the “state” competition, held at Seven Holy Founders Church. There, radio personalities Joe Sonderman, Anthony Stalter and Asher Benrubi “The Smash;” Washington, Missouri, Mayor Sandy Lucy; and Miss Missouri 2019 Simone Esters judged each entry.

Guests enjoyed a taco bar, margaritas, beer, soft drinks and music from Mariachi Nuevo Azteca. Cardinals fans watched the playoff game on the church’s big-screen TV.

Although Spectrum promoted the event throughout St. Louis, event planners weren’t sure how many people would show. They set up tables for 145 people and waited.

“By the time everyone got in, it was packed,” says Murie. “Some people dressed in sombreros and brought Mexican flags. The residents had so much fun. They totally got into the spirit of competition and rooted for their favorite salsas. They were proud of what their communities put together.”

Westview SalsaAnd the winner? Westview Assisted Living and Memory Care in Ellisville, Missouri. Their mango salsa, Tropical Savannah, received the most points for taste, presentation and packaging.

Westview may get bragging rights, but all residents benefit from events that allow them to integrate with their local community. “It reminds them to age fearlessly and live colorfully,” says Murie. “Keep being who you want to be and live life to the fullest. Spectrum is home now, and our residents are proud to show off where they live, who they are and what they can do.”

To get your own taste of Tropical Savannah, complete the form below and download the recipe card.