SPARTA, NJ – Three teams of Sparta High School students and staff members competed in the annual Culinary Throwdown last week in the cafeteria of the school. The community was invited to watch, enjoy a buffet dinner and even sample the competion food. The $5 admission fee went to support the Sodexo scholarship for students going on to study culinary arts after high school according to Sodexo's Denise Liptak.
Each team had one hour to create an appetizer, main course and dessert using the same ingredients. The three judges were Lisa Tarfuri, Andrea Langan and Nancy Rapisardi.
Rispardi said they evaluated the teams’ creations “considering techniques, cleanliness, skill level, team work, plating design and creativity.”
“We walk around, watch and ask questions,” Langan said.
“It’s nice because they all bring different talents,” Tarfuri said.
Culinary teacher Jenevieve D’Amico, on the Cinque Amici, enjoyed participating in the competion. She said she appreciated the way they worked together, “with no arguments,” added a student on the team.
“I’m enjoying spending time working with you," Peyton Martini said to D'Amico, "and working together as a team."
“It’s fun hanging out with the students and seeing them use their cooking skills under pressure,” D’Amico said. “I am impressed by their plating skills. This does not look like work done by high school students.”
Team Cinque Amici was comprised of D’Amico, Amanda Scully, Sam Wolstenholme, Brandon Lagasca and Martini. Their menu was Boomin Bruschetta, Sassy Strawberry Salad, Sweet Chili Chicken, Crazy Banana Crepes and Boardwalk Surprise.
The Procrastinators team members were Athletic Director Steve Stoner, Emma Rennie, Jamie Rennie, Dan Baker, Jolen Stoner and Quinn Stoner. They made Bruschetta, Fiesta Chicken Tacos and Strawberry Shortcake.
The Cheese Weasels! team was made up of Sodexo’s Tina Johnson, Daniel Minesinger, Michael Smuda, Julian Mindeinger and Rocco Gigantelli. They created Sparta Spring Salad with Mandarin oranges, bacon, cheese and olives, Chicken Marsala with Green Beans and Bread Pudding.
The winners were Cinque Amici. All teams got gifts but the Cinque Amici’s took home the medals.
Liptak said approximately $250 was raised for the scholarship fund.