SPARTA, NJ – The cafeteria at Sussex Technical School was transformed into the stage for a cooking contest with teams of young chefs, judges, tables of ingredients and even an audience. The annual Culinary Throw Down sponsored by SODEXO was held on Tuesday evening.  General Manager Anna Burke’s event brought together four teams each with five students with a faculty member.

Each team was given five minutes to prepare a menu using the available ingredients and the ‘mystery protein’ which was pork loin.  Once the menus were reviewed they had 90 minutes to prepare their three course meal. 

The students that participated are part of the culinary program at Sussex County Technical School, from all different grades.  The student competitors explained as freshman and sophomores they have a variety of classes.  Going into their junior year they must choose a course of study within the program.  They can choose Bake Shop, Back Kitchen and Dining Room.

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The judges were Sue Shake, Vice President of the board of education, Steve Masotti the school’s vice principal and Diane Wexler a member of the school board.

Shake said, “I am the number one fan of this school,” when explaining her qualification as judge.

With Chef Chad acting as master of ceremony for the event, everyone was kept entertained.

The four teams:

Chicken Wangstangs (CWS)

  • Dr Eric Herschman - faculty
  • Emily Kuperis,
  • Kylie Buditch,
  • Kate Johnson,
  • Alexis Kirchoff and
  • Alexis Piacentino

The Hot Tamales

  • Amy Van Kalsbeck – faculty
  • Amanda Goble,
  • Matt Unorski,
  • Emily Verrone,
  • Amanda Cubberly,
  • Nicole Schuman

The Salt and Peppers

  • Maria Re – faculty
  • Brooke Cardavonye,
  • Chris Hearno,
  • Amber Tiritilli,
  • Melanie Dembowski,
  • Rocco Gigantell

Potato Peelers

  • Bryan Allegrino – faculty
  • David McArthur,
  • Dalton Allison,
  • Yazmene Kaylani,
  • Kayla Komnath,
  • Norman Schutte

The teams had to prepare a salad, an entree and a dessert.  They were judged on teamwork, taste and overall presentation.

Burke announced the winning team with the Chicken Wangstangs, earning bragging rights, medals and a cook book called Real Tapas. 

When asked about why she is in the culinary program at the school Sophomore Amber Tiritilli said, "I just love cooking and experimenting with food."