Friday, March 24, 2017

Mullica School Top Chef Jr. Competition

MULLICA TOWNSHIP — Wyatt Engelmann loves bacon.
So it was no surprise he admitted eating a strip when he cooked bacon for the Romaine Calm Salad he entered in the Mullica Township School’s Top Chef Jr. competition Wednesday night.
Still, the missing strip did not hurt his score. Engelmann came in second, with judges praising the mix of flavors.
Asked why he called the zesty salad “calm,” he said it was advice to stay calm “because you’re about to get hit with flavor.”
The event was sponsored by the school Parent-Teacher Association, which received a $2,000 National PTA School Meals Grant. The purpose was to increase students’ daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Principal Matthew Mazzoni said about 100 students submitted proposals for a salad that was both tasty and nutritious. Sixteen were chosen to make their salad for a panel of four judges. In the cafeteria, students had 30 minutes to prepare the salad, with minimal help from parents.
Some arrived with ingredients pre-chopped in containers. Others worked from scratch, carefully slicing lettuce, mushrooms and chicken breasts as parents watched from the bleachers.
“I forgot to pack the blue cheese,” Danielle Rescigno, realized as her son, Brandon, 9, compiled a salad that included nuts, apples and dried cranberries. She sent her husband home to get it.
As judges began tasting, it soon became clear their choice would not be easy. Alexis Hakes, 12, said she had created the tasty homemade barbecue sauce for the grilled chicken on her Monster Meal salad.

 Chelsea Dailey, 10, tossed provolone, cheddar and feta cheese onto her Three Cheese Coyote salad.
“I love cheese,” she said.
Leah Denmead, 9, was the only student to make a fruit salad, and that worked in her favor. She was judged the first-place winner.
Judge Nicole LaTorre, an AtlantiCare Growing Green Chef Council member and owner of Eat Clean Org., admired Denmead’s decision to serve her multi-fruit salad in a hollowed-out grapefruit.
“It looks nice, and it is repurposing part of the grapefruit that would otherwise just be thrown away,” LaTorre said.
Students were judges on taste, presentation, creativity and workmanship.
Third-place winner was Ava Jade Fox, whose Crunchy Delight salad featured a fresh strawberry dressing.

PTA President Jessica Carroll, who also judged, said she was impressed by the variety in the salads and the level of participation by the students. Other judges were teachers Britney Baumgartel and Barbara Manzer.
Manzer said it was hard to pick, but for her the dressings made the difference.
“You could tell when students made the dressings themselves,” she said.
LaTorre was also impressed with the skill levels, complimenting Rocco Buonsante on the perfectly grilled chicken in his chicken and bean salad.
“It was nice to see how excited they were,” she said.

The original plan was to pick one winner, whose salad would be featured on the school cafeteria menu. But with so many choices, Mazzoni said he will try to have all three featured, maybe doing one a month.
“We are trying to get students to eat more salad,” Mazzoni said.

No comments: