CLARK, NJ – The Clark Police Department has emerged victorious as the winner of the “Clark PD vs Clark FD BBQ Cook-Off,” edging out the Fire Department by just one vote. After all votes were counted, the Police Department earned 469 votes while the Fire Department earned 468, according to Clark Police Chief Pedro Matos.

Today’s cookoff, held at the Clark Recreation Center, featured members of both departments.  Each team put their grilling skills to the test vying for votes from members of the Clark community.

Attendees who purchased a ticket were invited to taste offerings from both teams and vote on which team’s food tasted better. Voters assessed four categories of food (chili, kebabs, ribs, and wings) before casting their vote for who they believed should take home the title.

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Both teams explained to TAPinto Clark that they felt confident and well-prepared as the cookoff began. The Fire Department team, led by Chief Frank Cerasa, was hard at work leading up to the event. “We spent all day yesterday prepping. All day, all night,” Cerasa said. “I left at 10:30 or 11, [and] we had guys at the firehouse until about 1:30 or 2:00.”

However, despite all of their preparations, they were no match for the Police Department team, who took the competition just as seriously. “I’ve been up all night,” said Police Captain Vincent Concina, who led the Police Department team to victory. “We put in a lot of effort.”

Ultimately, the efforts of the Police Department were successful in winning over the hearts (and taste buds) of the voting public.

Cerasa took the narrow defeat in stride and focused on the bigger picture.   "What matters is that my firemen did the  best they could with a great group of policemen for a great cause," said Cerasa.  "We were proud to be in the competition."

Mayor Bonaccorso took to social media to praise both departments for their hard work at the event.   "Congrats to the PD they won today’s cook off, by 1 vote. But I must congratulate the FD for a great job. Both departments make this town a great town. Great group of guys who give this town their very best every day." said Bonaccorso on his Facebook page.  

ShopRite, the event’s sponsor, supplied both teams with 40 pounds of chili, 350 wings, 70 racks of ribs, 30 pounds of chicken, and other materials, according to Chief Cerasa. Proceeds from the event will benefit ShopRite’s Veterans Campaign.