On June 11th, I had the honor of serving as a judge at the first annual Iron Go! Chefs competition at the East Harlem Center! (To see the NY1 story about the competition, click here.) Teams of middle school students from our East Harlem Center, IS 98, Mirabal Sisters Campus, IS 166, and Fannie Lou Hamer Middle School competed in a healthy cooking competition. My fellow judges included ABC News Health Correspondent Dr. Richard Besser, James Beard award-winning cookbook author Lorna Sass, and Children’s Aid own Jacqueline Morillo, our cook at East Harlem, and Next Generation Catering crew member Ryan Frazier.
The judges had the honor of tasting five delicious meals, any of which I would be happy to be served in a restaurant, and the difficult task of choosing award winners. I was blown away, as I usually am, by the talent of our children and the dedication of our staff.
The Iron Go! Chefs competition exemplified the best of Children’s Aid: programmatic innovation, project based learning, youth development, healthy eating and lifestyles, and – of course – fun! Not only was each participant a winner but each team stood out for their delicious culinary creations:
Taking the award for the Most Healthful Dish was the tasty whole wheat pasta with beans and veggies created by the I.S. 98 Chefettes.
Best Teamwork award went to the Mirabal Sister’s Campus Food Fighters for their collaborative efforts on the Omelette a la Mirabal and Papaya Strawberry Smoothie.
The award for Best Presentation went to the home team, the East Harlem Center Mighty Bites, for their decorative Salmon Caliente with Quinoa, Asiago Asparagus and Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges.
The award for Most Original Dish went to IS 166’s Fire and Spice team for their creative Seared Salmon with Asparagus and Carrot Brown Rice Risotto.
The awards for Best Tasting Dish and Best All Around in the competition went to the Fannie Lou Hamer Saute Champions for their perfectly executed and delicious tasting Shrimp Saute with Creamy Polenta and Pesto Sauce.
I would like to give a special shout out to all of the people who made this fantastic evening possible:
Stefania Patinella – Children’s Aid’s queen of healthy living and the leader of this effort!
Ellen Barker – who did a fantastic job coordinating the entire celebration!
East Harlem Center “Mighty Bites” team: Diana Matias, Educational Coordinator and Jasan Edwards, Chef Instructor…and of course David and his whole staff for hosting!
IS 98 Chefettes team: Venus White, Program Director and Farah Reyes, Chef Instructor
IS 166 “Fire and Spice”: Chevar Francis, Program Director and Brandon Henry, Chef Instructor. Chevar deserves a special shout out, because he conceived the idea in the first place!
Fannie Lou Hamer Saute Champions: Oscar Guzman, Program Director and Corinne Shaw, Chef Instructor
Mirabal Sisters Campus Food Fighters: Atiyya Abdur-Rahman, Assistant Program Director, Luz Jimenez, Chef Instructor and Katherine Mordan, Chef’s Assistant
Wishing you a summer full of happy and healthy eating!
Richard R. Buery, Jr.
President and CEO
The Children's Aid Society