Essex County News

West Orange Student Competes on Circus-Themed "Chopped Junior"

9e79a4392891bb23edbf_20170412_022124.jpg
acdf49fba44ce2401bbe_20170412_022102.jpg
West Orange 5th grader Megan Hackett is runner up on circus-themed Chopped Junior
75b37c175807a446d733_20170412_022018.jpg
West Orange 5th grader Megan Hackett, Chopped Junior runner up, with mother, Natalie.
c895aa23144820919917_20170412_021952.jpg
West Orange 5th grader Megan Hackett enjoys Chopped Junior viewing party with friends
1d8243b63f61b124d37e_20170412_021830.jpg
West Orange 5th grader Megan Hackett enjoys Chopped Junior viewing party with friends and family
936659240ff91b242371_20170412_021853.jpg
West Orange 5th grader Megan Hackett enjoys Chopped Junior viewing party with friends and family
899e3afdbe1af4a9d629_20170412_021804.jpg
West Orange 5th grader Megan Hackett enjoys Chopped Junior viewing party with friends and family
8c37614088f60dc9c6ca_20170412_021925.jpg
West Orange 5th grader Megan Hackett enjoys Chopped Junior viewing party with friends and family
ffda2fa8c418e8b0f013_20170412_022145.jpg
West Orange 5th grader Megan Hackett with her father, who taught her about southern cooking
9e79a4392891bb23edbf_20170412_022124.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ — A special circus-themed episode of Food Network’s “Chopped Junior,” entitled “Three Ring Kitchen,” featured West Orange fifth-grader Megan Hackett—who was the runner up in the competition, but was surrounded by friends and family at SuzyQue’s BBQ and Bar, as she viewed the episode for the first time on Tuesday.

Megan was selected to compete against three talented junior chefs from Rye, NY, Waialua, HI, and Hershey, PA in the three-round competition. The appetizer, entrée and dessert rounds each featured a basket of four mandatory mystery ingredients, which this week included circus favorites like corn dogs, caramel apples and circus peanuts as well as other ingredients like avocados, heirloom tomatoes and concord grapes.

Stating that the competition was extremely tough, Megan said all the kids worked hard and would always remember the experience.

Sign Up for E-News

“I actually wanted to start an organization for inner-city kids because not a lot of kids get the opportunities that I do and I just want to give them the chance,” she said when asked what she would have done with the prize money. “Even though I didn’t win the $10,000 to start the organization, I’m still going to try to make art, music and cooking a possibility for other kids.”

In her introduction, Megan explained that she learned how to cook southern and soul foods from her father, whose parents are from Alabama. She won the judges over with her creative, cohesive dishes in the first two rounds, but was out-cooked in the dessert round despite positive remarks from judges Geoffrey Zakarian, a regular “Chopped” judge, Sunny Anderson from Food Network’s “The Kitchen” and TV/movie actor Ryan Guzman.

In addition to her cooking, Megan also showed off her dancing, beat-boxing and facial-expression skills during the episode. What her fans at SuzQue’s found most impressive, however, was her ability to make creative adjustments when something went wrong as well as how much passion and maturity she showed throughout.

“Megan showed profound creativity, poise and just was cool under pressure,” said West Orange Board of Education member Mark Robertson, who attended the viewing party with other members of the board. “She also seized fun out of every moment—she was just so joyful throughout the whole process and at the same time, she was very supportive of all the other kids who were competing.”

In the final round, Megan hoped to create a concord grape/caramel apple fruit tart with an elephant ear crumble, but resorted to her “Plan B” after realizing that her tart was not going to cook in time.

Although her competitor’s dessert earned him the $10,000 prize, the judges commended Megan for her ability to think on her toes in order to get every ingredient on the plate. The judges also applauded Megan’s usage of the ingredients in the first two rounds, noting the impressive flavors and cohesion of her dishes.  

“What was really cool about this was just that fact that Megan did a tremendous job and that so much of the community came out and were cheering for her throughout the entire thing,” said Robertson. “Some of her quotes throughout the show were just precious and she’s really got a fan club.”

Megan thanked all of those who came out Tuesday evening to support her.

“I had a lot of fun watching the show and it was a great experience,” she said.  

Click HERE to read more about how Megan prepared for the competition.

To obtain local news and events faster, download the new TAPinto App for iPhone or Android free in the Google Play Store and the Apple Store by searching for “tapinto” or “tapinto.net.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bloomfield

Bloomfield Kicks off Summer of Fun with Memorial Day Parade Monday

May 24, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- The Bloomfield Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is kicking off the Summer of Fun with the Memorial Day parade this Monday, May 28. The parade will march south on Broad street to the reviewing stand on the Town Green in front of the Civic Center.

“I would like to thank all of the parade participants, and especially the Bloomfield Joint Memorial ...

Braun's Tavern Offer's Special Discount for Active US Military and Veterans This Weekend

BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- Memorial Day Weekend:  As a thank you to our troops, Braun’s Tavern  will offer a 10% discount to all US Military - simply present your armed service ID.  Regular hours Friday-Sunday 5/25-5/27 - Closed Monday 5/28, Memorial Day. Braun’s Tavern & Dining Room 289 Glenwood Avenue, Bloomfield, NJ (973) 743-1097 ...

Bloomfield Police Blotter May 14 to 20, 2018

May 24, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.

Shoplifting: 5/14/18- Officers were dispatched to 250 Glenwood Avenue (CVS) on a report of a shoplifting. The complainant reported that an unknown Hispanic male entered the establishment and headed towards the cosmetic aisle. He proceeded to fill a blue bag with ...

29th Annual Montclair African-American Heritage Parade and Festival to Take Place on June 2.

May 26, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair African American Heritage Foundation announced its line up for the 29th Annual Montclair African-American Heritage Parade and Festival to take place on June 2.

For the past 29 years, the MAAHF has continued to plant seed in making sure that the contributions made by locals as well as those that have made an impact in the township of ...

Senator Nia H. Gill and Lawrence Hamm to Speak at Father's Day Breakfast

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Senator Nia H. Gill and Activist Lawrence Hamm will both speak at the Brother to Brother Mentoring Program's 10th Annual Father's Day Breakfast Celebration and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 16.

Held at the Montclair 9th Grade Academy Atrium, located at 141 Park Street, Montclair, NJ (please use the North Fullerton Avenue entrance) at 9:00 AM. 

The ...

A Taste of South Jersey to be held on Battleship New Jersey

May 27, 2018

Camden, NJ—The Camden County Regional Chamber of Commerce is honoring the United States Military this year at its annual "A Taste of South Jersey" event, to be held this year aboard the Battleship New Jersey.

The culinary event will be held on Monday, June 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.

This year’s theme is “Salute Our Big 5,” in honor of the Army, Navy, Air Force, ...

Giamarese Farms and Farmers Against Hunger Grow Food for Those in Need

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a hot Friday morning before Memorial Day, volunteers were hard at work planting eggplant, tomatoes, beans and other veggies here in East Brunswick as part of an initiative by the activist group Farmers Against Hunger.  The plot on Fresh Ponds Road was donated by Jim Giamarese, and the labor was provided by corporate volunteers and local farmers.  ...

Belmar Brownies 'Rock It' by Spreading Kindness along Beachfront

May 27, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar Brownie Troop 60481 recently was out spreading kindness along the boardwalk.

As part of their community project, eight members of the troop on May 24 placed rocks they had specially painted with words of kindness at beach entrances to “make people happy.”

Led by troop leader Melissa Hingher, the girls who participated to earn their community badge ...

With Dredging Done, Little Egg Inlet Sees Return of Channel Markers to Aid Boaters

LONG BEACH, NJ — After a 14-month absence, the channel markers are back in place in the Little Egg Inlet.

A U.S. Coast Guard team successfully installed eight lighted buoys on May 21 after they were removed in March 2017 when the buildup of sand reduced the depth of the inlet, making it impassable for most boats.

The shoaling triggered the need for a major dredging project, which was ...

Letter to the Editor: Gum Litter and what YOU can do about it

May 15, 2018

Gum is non-biodegradable, meaning it doesn't’t break down ever….

Today, the unlikely problem surfaces. The average person chews 275 sticks of gum per year. With the amount of people in daily society, it’s no mystery why chewing gum is the second most littered item after cigarette butts.  Did you know that gum is banned in Singapore?

In addition to littering human ...

To the Editor: Notes for Mr. and Mrs. Webber On How to Complain About Stuff

Well, it looks like I have at least three things in common with Jay and Johanna Webber: (a) We live in the 11th District; (b) We believe family is important; (c) We have experienced life in big families -- I'm the third of seven kids myself. So of course I noticed the statements the Webbers recently shared on Facebook – which took something one person said about Jay’s ...

Bloomfield Bengals Sports Update May 21, 2018

Volleyball advanced to the County final with wins over Science Park and Montclair. Unfortunately, Livingston got the better of the Bengals in the County Championship Match.   

At the County Track and Field Championship Meet the Girls Team had a fine showing placing 5th overall. Leading the way was Kaela Edwards-2nd in high hurdles and Aicha Naouai- 2nd in javelin. The best ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update May 14 2018

 At the SEC Championship Meet La’Shan White equaled his school record in winning the 400-meter hurdles. He also won the 110- meter High Hurdles and anchored the winning 4x400 relay team. Aicha Naouai won the Javelin with a throw of 126’6.5(#9 NJ) and the Discus with a mark of 95’5”. Warlys Lizardo won the Boys Discus at 120’.

Kristina Collins reached ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 23, 2018




The Jaffe Briefing will not publish from Thursday through Monday. A great Memorial Day to all!


OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Sex can be an almost-religious experience, but it seems a bit excessive to copulate under a statue of the Virgin Mary in a Catholic church's outdoor prayer garden. Yet, that's where ...

School’s Out: Your Exclusive Summer Getaway Guide

May 20, 2018

Summer... a time to do whatever you please without having the stress of school or work.

But like many others, you may find yourself unsure of how to spend your summer days. So, if you’re looking for something cool to do when it’s hot, consider these ideas:

Get Cultured: Metropolitan Museum of Art: If you’re fascinated with art of all sorts from classic to modern, then this ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2017)

 

I wanted to like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins because I had enjoyed her previous novel, The Girl on the Train, which was a suspenseful thriller. However, when I finished reading the first part of the Into the Water, I realized that I had not absorbed anything that was happening in the story. I blamed myself for not paying ...

Lord Stirling To Host Hunter Pace On June 3

May 26, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – The Friends of Lord Stirling Stable and the Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable will host the Spring Private Horse Hunter Pace on Sunday, June 3, 2018 beginning at 9 a.m. with the last team departing by 1 p.m.  

Lord Stirling Stable is located at 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ.  The Hunter Pace is ...

8th Annual Groove In The Grove Indie Music Festival

GROOVE IN THE GROVE Indie Music Festival Returns for 8th Year to Vasa Park

MT. OLIVE, NJ, May 10, 2018 – Kicking back on the grounds of a beautiful park listening to great music, drinking a cold one and hanging out with friends – sounds like the perfect Saturday! Music lovers, songwriters, musicians and anyone who enjoys spending a relaxing afternoon outdoors will enjoy this ...

WALK THE MORRIS CANAL GREENWAY CENTRAL TRAIL

  

We’ve Walked the South End. We’ve Walked the North End.  Now We Have Two Opportunities to Walk the Central Trail of the Morris Canal Greenway.

JOIN US!

Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 9:00 AM 

Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 9:00 AM

The walk will begin at the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave, Bloomfield, ...

Moriarty, Caputo & Downey Bill to Strengthen Anti-Nepotism Rules in School Districts Approved by Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Ralph Caputo and Joann Downey to extend anti-nepotism rules to the state’s public and charter schools was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.

“Property taxpayers deserve every assurance that the people charged with educating their children attained their positions because of what they ...

Obituaries

Jul 4, 1933 - May 18, 2018
Maria A. Probst (nee: Geiger), 84 of Bloomfield passed away on May 18. Her final days were spent ...
Read more
Jul 21, 1966 - Apr 6, 2018
Sheila Rossi (nee Borges) 51, of Nutley, NJ died peacefully on April 6, 2018. Visitation will be ...
Read more