By: Sharon Aron Baron
Five ingredients. Five students chefs. Five celebrity judges. Who would win Coral Springs version of “Chopped?”
On Sunday, Coral Springs restaurant The Cook and the Cork held their second annual event for their Young Culinarian Scholarship Foundation which raises money for young chefs. The theme of the party was Louisiana “Bayou” featuring gumbo, jambalaya, BBQ, crawfish, and oysters accompanied by live zydeco music. Held on the half acre site of the restaurant that is owned by Chef Keith Blauschild and Dena Lowell, silent auction items were also featured including gift baskets, and cooking tutorials.
“I thought it was absolutely fantastic. We couldn’t ask for a better day,” said Sous Chef Michael Brothers.
The featured event was the “Chopped” competition where five student chefs from Coral Glades High School prepared a meal using only five ingredients: mahi mahi fish, instant cook rice, zucchini, okra, and coconut milk.
According to Brothers, they were also provided with one burner, two sauce pans, two mixing bowls, all the cooking tools they needed, and access to “every spice under the sun.”
The students could also add apples, cabbage, bell peppers, onions, chicken stock, and vinegars to enhance their dish, just as long as they utilized the five ingredients.
Afterwards, “celebrity judges’ consisting of Coral Springs City Commissioner Joy Carter, Food writer Dan I. Cook from Coral Springs Talk, Owner Mike Lange from Air Around the Clock, Jacqui Pressinger, Assistant Director of Admissions from The Culinary Institute of America, and Parkland Mayor Michael Udine sampled all of the dishes.
The Judges Decision:
Grand Prize- Victor Delgado – 7 piece Wustof Knife Set, donated by Sur La Table
1st place- Joshua Thomas – $100 Cook And The Cork Gift Card
3rd place- Cynthia Almodovar – $25 Too Jays gift card and a candle from Yankee Candle in Coconut Creek
4th place Kamrie Delano – $15 LaSpada’s Original Hoagies gift card
Proceeds from this year’s event will be awarded to The Culinary Institute of America’s (CIA) Alumni Scholarship Foundation. The CIA is the world’s premiere not-for-profit culinary college in the United States.
“Ten years ago if someone did this event, it wouldn’t have been as successful,” Brothers said and pointed out how there were so many options in having a career in the culinary arts. Executive Chefs at Panera Bread, McDonalds, even the White House Chef along with Anthony Bourdain are all Culinary Institute of America graduates.
Students that are interested in culinary arts may want to get to know Brothers as well as any of the other chefs a bit better at The Cook and the Cork restaurant: “If any of the kids competed today, or anybody down here in South Florida want to go to the Culinary Institute of America, if any of us recommends them, they will get a $1,000 scholarship.”
Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and the rest of South Florida.