EDISON, NJ - QuickChek teamed up with 20 fire departments from around the state to heat up some culinary action and raise money for burn victims at the 6th annual Cooked & Uncorked food and wine festival at the Pines Manor in Edison on February 29.
Sponsored by the New Jersey State Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association, the fundraiser benefits The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, the only certified burn treatment facility in the state; and a summer camp for young burn victims. The event raises approximately $50,000 each year.
The culinary extravaganza featured 20 fire departments competing in the Ultimate Fire Department Cook-off with 40 restaurants and food service companies offering samples to festival-goers.
Whitehouse Station, NJ-based QuickChek, a leader in the fresh convenience market industry, showcased four of their top-selling soups, Maine Lobster Bisque, Chicken Tortilla, Vegetarian Minestrone, and Hearty Beef Chili, to rave reviews from the more than 1,200 people in attendance, the largest turnout ever at the event.
The Roselle Fire Department won the Gourmet category with their shrimp ceviche taco and the Paterson Fire Department’s pork belly taco won the Firehouse category.
“The food was excellent. I was very impressed, not only by the recipes, but by the creativity of their presentations, too,” said QuickChek Director of Food Service Jennifer Vespole, who was among the panel of judges in the Gourmet category.
The other competing departments were Bayonne, Belleville, Carteret, Cranford, Elizabeth, Harrison, Hillside, Linden, Long Branch, Maplewood, Millburn, New Brunswick, Nutley, Plainfield, Rahway, South Orange, Trenton and Union.
QuickChek’s Vespole, Q104.3 radio personality Shelli Sonstein, former New York Giant Bart Oates and former New Jersey Devil John Maclean, were among the 10 judges on the Gourmet panel. Ten other judges were on the Firehouse panel.
“We really appreciate QuickChek being involved this year and helping make this our most successful event ever,” said Bob Hill, co-chairman of Cooked & Uncorked.
“This was a great opportunity for us to showcase our line of soups while continuing our mission and commitment to helping our communities,” added Vespole, whose company has 142 locations throughout New Jersey, New York’s Hudson Valley and Long Island.
QuickChek team members recently provided food, coffee and bottled water to firefighters as they worked to put out a massive blaze in a warehouse in Hillsborough on February 11-12.
The company donated $1,121 raised through an in-store fundraiser to the Sayreville Fire Department last April in response to the firefighters’ efforts in putting out a fire that damaged a strip mall where the company has a store.
QuickChek also utilized their relationship with the Centereach Fire Department to raise funds and awareness for military families on Long Island by holding a sub-making contest in their Lake Grove, NY store on Jan. 30.