Photo above: Girl Scouts CEO Eileen Higgins (second from left) launches the TopCookie competition with contenders: Angela Goblesky, Charlie’s of Bay Head; Marilyn Schlossbach and Nora Watson, White Chapel Projects; Corey DeBiasse, Marina Grille; and lead judge David Burke. Also competing is Cardinal Provisions, Asbury Park.
ASBURY PARK, NJ: McLoone's Supper Club, on the Asbury Park Boardwalk hosted the press conference for the official kick-off of the 2nd Annual TopCookie Contest on the morning of January 13th. It was a sunny winter day, perfect for enjoying the venue's panoramic, spectacular ocean views.
Everyone seemed to have an extra pep in their step just knowing; It’s that delicious Girl Scout Cookie season, that wonderful time of the year when everyone can stock up on their favorites like Thin Mints, Samoas and more!
Owner Tim McLoone welcomed everyone, offering a generous array of breakfast foods, coffee and other beverages. TAPinto spoke with McLoone, who commented, "The truth of it is I have a great reverence for the Girls Scouts, because in my life growing up, scouting was everything at a certain age. I did the whole gamut of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorer Scouts and it made such a positive impact in my life. Empowering young women is so important, and I told Eileen, I will always support the Girl Scouts." Monmouth County Commissioner Director Tom Arnone was at the event to support the mission of the Girls Scouts, "Monmouth County is very proud of the work of our young leaders who through the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore are making a positive difference on a regular basis here in our county."
The TopCookie Contest is a mutually beneficial way during a pandemic for restaurants and Girl Scouts to partner-up in support of one another.
“It’s been a tough year for everyone,” said Higgins, who oversees the Girl Scout council, which encompasses nearly 10,000 girls in Monmouth and Ocean counties and approximately 4,000 adult volunteers. “We are thrilled to be able to showcase and support local restaurants and the Girl Scout Cookie Program in a unique and fun way.”
When COVID-19 hit, the Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore never paused. They tenaciously pushed forward, quickly reinventing ways to sustain cookie sales, provide COVID-19 safe educational and fun leadership experiences. Even their annual gala was a success, safely and in-person, when most charitable events went virtual.
This is an example of the Girl Scout Difference: An outstanding young leader, Girl Scout Lexi Terracciano, 17, a senior at Wall High School was recognized at Wednesday's press event, for her top cookie sales in 2020.
During the height of the pandemic, Terracciano sold a whopping 6,552 boxes of Girls Scout Cookies!
TAPinto spoke with Lexi, "The pandemic made me look at things differently and instead of traditional selling, I also asked people to buy them to donate them to frontline workers at hospitals, our police, and military. I found that people were more generous than ever, knowing they were supporting the Girl Scouts, and at the same time supporting our frontline workers, and military. It was a really great experience." Terracciano is hoping to go to Princeton for her college experience and would like to study bio-chemistry.
Details for the March 16, TopCookie contest slated to be virtual, were shared at the event by Girl Scouts CEO Eileen Higgins, and world-renowned Chef David Burke, who said, "I'm excited to be a part of the second edition of the TopCookie competition to help promote the Girl Scout Cookie Program, the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world." Burke also expressed how he's very happy abou the collaboration with local restaurants.
Burke introduced the four restaurants participating in the TopCookie competition and led the drawing for the cookie flavor that each will use in their dessert creations. Top Cookie seller Lexi Terracciano assisted him on stage, handing over the specific oversized cookie boxes to the participants . Burke commented to TAPinto, "TopCookie is a great way to help local restaurants and at the same time support our Girl Scouts."
As a result of the drawing, the following are the participating restaurants and the Girl Scout Cookies they are matched with to create a scrumptious concoction.
Cardinal, Asbury Park – Samoas
Charlie’s of Bay Head, Bay Head – Lemon-Ups
Marina Grille, Belmar – Trefoils
White Chapel Projects, Long Branch – Tagalongs
Higgins explained that chefs from these Jersey Shore eateries will present their dessert creations to a panel of celebrity judges who will select the winning dessert for the title of TopCookie. The local community can also get involved by purchasing votes for their favorite restaurant at $1 a vote with a minimum donation of $10. The top vote getter will claim the People’s Choice Award, won last year by McLoone’s Restaurants.
Along with Burke, the judges are: Amelia Caverly, baker and co-owner of Booskerdoo; James Costello, owner of Ohana Grill in Lavallette and the 2020 TopCookie champion; Jacki Sharpe, owner of Purple Glaze Donuts, Asbury Park; and Kacie Duesterdick and Matthew Simonik, SeastheDish, food and restaurant influencers.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the competition will be taped and available for all ticket holders to view in the comfort of their home on March 21.
All TopCookie ticket holders will receive a $25 gift card to enjoy at one of the participating restaurants of their choice and may also purchase additional gift cards to support the eateries.
Tickets for the competition are $40 and $85 (higher price includes to-go dessert tastings) and may be purchased along with sponsorship opportunities and votes for the People’s Choice Award on the Girl Scout website at www.GSFun.org/TopCookie.
Higgins noted that Girl Scouts are eagerly accepting cookie orders. She stressed that while the focus of the Girl Scout Cookie Program has always been to help girls think like entrepreneurs and develop important skills like goal setting and money management, today’s Girl Scouts are finding new ways to market and safely deliver Girl Scouts Cookies in the COVID-era.
“Our Girl Scout Cookie entrepreneurs are sharpening their pitches for online sales and planning drive-thru cookie booths and curbside pickup,” Higgins said. “We are proud to see their creativity and resilience.”
For more information about the TopCookie competition or Girl Scout Cookies, visit www.GSFun.org.