Food & Drink

Contestants Wanted - Livingston to Hold First-Ever Town-Wide Healthy Food Cook-Off

Credits: Submitted by Stacey Rubinstein
Credits: Submitted by Stacey Rubinstein

LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Livingston Food Day Committee, SYLS, ShopRite and key partners including the West Essex YMCA, Livingston Township, Kings, Livingston Public Schools, HCHY, CHOW, and other community groups are holding a Healthy Chili and Quinoa Cook-Off on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at the Senior Community Center, which is located at 204 Hillside Ave. Cooks of all levels and ages are invited to participate.

The winning Quinoa and Chili recipes will be featured as ready-to-eat dishes at ShopRite of Livingston's Village Food Garden. Winners will also receive a celebration basket filled with ShopRite specialty, organic and gluten-free products created with health in mind.

“The goal is to find Livingston's next delicious chili recipe and quinoa dish with some key health points in mind including maximized fiber and minimized salt and saturated fat,” said Liliana Branquinho, RA, Township of Livingston, Senior & Adult Enrichment and Special Events Supervisor, who is co-chairing the event with Livingston Food Day Committee members Stacey Rubinstein and Jodi Rothfeld, and ShopRite Registered Dietitian Christine Patorniti.

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“We chose Chili and Quinoa as the contest dishes because each one offers a myriad of cooking options, each one can be very healthy, and they appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians alike,” said Rubinstein. “This way, no one is left out of the competition."

The Town-Wide Healthy Food Cook-Off is being held in honor of Food Day, a nationwide celebration and a movement that began in 2011, and is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. While Food Day is held annually, on Oct. 24, further efforts like Livingston’s Cook-Off are welcome anytime throughout the year. Last year, over 3,000 Food Day events were held in all 50 states in homes, schools, congregations, farmers markets, restaurants, libraries, supermarkets and businesses.

"The concept of Food Day was introduced in Livingston when organizers attended a Livingston Public School’s Coordinated School Health Committee and presented the idea of Food Day in an effort to engage key partners and build on existing momentum surrounding healthy food initiatives,” said Rubenstein.

“We are really excited to be sponsoring this event,” said Patorniti. “Eating healthy is important now more than ever and we want to get people talking and excited about healthy eating and cooking.”

“I love both Chili and Quinoa and cannot wait to see what Livingston’s cooking enthusiasts come up with for me to try,” said Jessica Serdikoff, RD, of Bloomfield NJ’s ShopRite of Brookdale, who is one of the contest judges.

Those interested in registering may go to and click on the Community Pass. For all questions, call 973.535.7925 x260 or send an email to

To learn more about Livingston’s Food Day efforts go to (like the Facebook page) or email community volunteer Stacey Rubinstein at

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