Iron Chef Winners


    First Place for First-time “Sizzlers” In Second-Annual Junior Iron Chef Competition

    The “Sayville Sizzlers” couldn’t have been more elated.  With their vegetarian recipes of Eggplant Tacos and Cranberry Chickpea Salad*, the Middle School five-person team, comprised of two seventh- and three eighth-graders, brought home the Middle School First-Place trophy from the Second-Annual Junior Iron Chef Cook-off Competition, held recently at Whole Foods in Lake Grove.

    This competition for middle and high school-age student teams, coordinated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and Lake Grove Whole Foods Market, was designed to encourage students to improve upon their cooking skills and create recipes which lead to healthier choices.

    This was the team’s first time competing in the Iron Chef Competition where the students were required to create either vegetarian or vegan dishes that used local foods (supporting our local agricultural industry and environment), USDA ingredients and that could be incorporated into a school cafeteria menu.  The team also planned the menu to meet all the requirements, especially the judges’ criteria of taste, presentation and creativity. 

    With limited time to create a winning recipe before the competition, “Sizzlers” team members Rio Ferreira, Oluwaseun Ogunwale, Cody Bostinto, Deanna McNally, and Daniel Novak, under the guidance of Team Supervisor Keith Filosa and Team Coaches Cheryl Scantlebury and Andrea Cacciatore, students practiced chopping, dicing, sautéing, and slicing to perfect their techniques and to master creating their recipe within the limited timeline they were given. 

    On the day of the competition, ten middle school teams lined up in rows were given just one hour to create and plate ten samples of their recipe.  The students eagerly awaited the announcement to begin.  With judges watching their every move and their supporters cheering them on, the Sizzlers kept their cool under the time crunch. 

    After their heat was completed, the Sizzlers cleaned up and waited patiently for the verdict which did not arrive for another 3 hours.  While waiting for the results, coaches Keith Filosa, Cheryl Scantlebury and Andrea Cacciatore reminded the students how proud they were and no matter the outcome, the students worked well together and should be proud of their achievement.

    In their own words, the Sayville Sizzlers offered their thoughts about the Iron Chef Contest:

    Seventh-grader Deanna McNally: It was a thrilling experience that encouraged me and boosted my confidence in cooking.

     Seventh-grader Daniel Novak: I entered the Iron Chef contest because I enjoy cooking and creating different types of food. I worried that the recipe was different from what most people eat. I was afraid that the judges would like something that they have tasted before. During the contest I was nervous while prepping the food. I wanted to make sure I was pulling my weight on the team.  While the names of the winners were being announced, I was in shock. I kept thinking that they were going to say ‘Sayville Sizzlers.’ When they did not say our name for the Second Place, I was flabbergasted. That meant we won FIRST. This was my first big win! I hope we get to compete again.

    Eighth-grader Rio Ferreira: When we finished, we thought we did a good job and we presented a good dish. When they called Tenth Place, we hoped we wouldn’t be in last place, and when we found out it wasn’t us, we were very happy. When they called Fifth Place and it wasn’t us, we knew we made it halfway and did good. When they called Third, then Second and neither of them was our group, we knew we won and were so, so happy, that even though we entered the contest late, we won!

    Eighth-grader Oluwaseun Ogunwale: It was a great experience to be on a team for cooking. I didn’t even know you could do that. I think that this was a great experience and I hope I can do it again one day.

     Eighth-grader Cody Bostinto: My experience with the ‘Sayville Sizzlers’ at the Iron Chef Competition was amazing. I felt that with teamwork, time, and effort, we would win the competition. All members of the team played an important role in completing the dish. We could not have succeeded alone. Also, without the help from Chef and my teachers, we would not have won.

    Congratulations to the winning “recipe” of students in the Sayville Sizzlers for their excellent teamwork. Special thanks go to Sayville Middle School Chef Keith Filosa who volunteered his time and talent to help Mrs. Scantlebury and Mrs. Cacciatore infuse enthusiasm for the cook-off. 

    As a “Welcome Winners” surprise, Food Service Director Linda Horrigan provided a celebratory cake decorated with an icing image of the Competition Brochure cover for the students and coaches to enjoy—which they did immensely!

    (see more photos in subfolder marked Practice Makes Perfect Photos in the left Navigation Bar)

    * For copies of the recipes click on the pdf below.

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