On May 24, 2018, CentroNía hosted its first cooking competition thanks to the joint efforts of CentroNía’s Food and Wellness Department and Family Center. The event welcomed over 40 parents, children, and staff to taste and enjoy delicious dishes prepared by five volunteer cooks who shared their culinary skills with the CentroNía community in hopes of taking home the top prize.

Each participant had about an hour and half to choose their ingredients – locally grown vegetables and other food items provided by CentroNía, and each cook brought a “secret ingredient” to create their signature recipe.  Here’s what each competitor created:

  • Betelihem made a vegetarian pasta sauce with green beans.
  • Witwit made an Indonesian curry chicken.
  • Marilin made arroz con pollo en salsa blanca (like ‘alfredo’ sauce), green salad with vinaigrette, and pico de gallo.
  • Bill made a crispy potato and pepper hash with spiced carrots, pickled green beans, and crema.
  • Tameka Evans made shrimp, peppers, and onions over rotini pasta.

CentroNía is grateful to the panel of volunteer judges: Patrilie Hernandez, Management Analyst Healthy Tots Act Division of Health and Wellness at OSSE, Aris and Raymond Compres owners of local restaurant Los Hermanos, Susan Reddish CentroNía staff, and Carmen Benitez, CentroNía mother and cook. Judges had a hard time deciding the winner as all dishes were exquisite; however, Marilin’s arroz con pollo en salsa blanca won the top prize and took home a $75 gift card. CentroNía’s early learners and staff will soon be able to try Marilin’s winning dish when it’s featured on CentroNía’s menu with adaptations to meet nutrition requirements.

Congratulations to the winner Marilin!

Everyone who participated received a $25 voucher for the farmers market. Raffle tickets were also given to attendees and ten lucky guests were selected to win a nutrition-focused children’s book. Huge thanks to all participants, judges and attendees for making this event a great success. We hope to see you all next year!