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Students compete for chance to represent their school at Iron Chef competition


BRASHER FALLS - Seven teams of students, making up nearly one-third of the seventh-grade class at St. Lawrence Central School recently competed for their chance to enter the first North Country Junior Iron Chef competition.

Just like on the popular television series, teams were given a list of ingredients and a 45-minute window to make magic happen.

Ann Norton, who teaches Home & Careers at the school said those ingredients, which were being used to make quesadillas, included fresh fruits and vegetables, reduced-fat and fat-free cheeses, as well as whole wheat tortillas.

“The idea is these students will develop healthy recipes that could be used in a school cafeteria,” event Director Sarah Bentley-Garfinkel said.

Ms. Bentley-Garfinkel added that students were encouraged to work with their school’s food service director and she hopes that once the competition is complete at least some of the students’ creations will find their way onto school lunch menus.

“We’ll make all of the recipes available on the website after the event,” she said. “The goal is to have some of the recipes appear on school lunch menus across the region.”

The region includes seven counties, with students from St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Franklin, Lewis, Essex, Clinton and Hamilton counties all eligible to compete in the regional competition set for March 9 at St. Lawrence University.

Ms. Bentley-Garfinkel explained the competition has 14 slots available for high school teams and 14 slots available for middle school teams.

The team of Damien Amo, Lucas Beeson and Jeffrey Mattison, who won St. Lawrence Central’s competition, are guaranteed a spot in the regional competition and Ms. Norton said she’s hoping the runners-up will be able to make it in as well. Bt that all depends on whether or not all of the competition’s slots have been filled by Dec. 1.

“I’m going to check the website that morning and if there is still a slot available, we’re going to get them in too,” Ms. Norton said, referring to the team of Michaela Bethel, Sydney Collins, Emma Sutton, Makenzie Taylor and Tessa Taylor.

Morgan Cheney and Eliza Sullivan both competed and said they had a great time.

“I thought it would be fun for me and my friends to do something together and with our schedules there’s a lot we can’t do,” Ms. Cheney said. “This was something we could do.”

When asked how she thought they fared with their entry, both girls were confident they did well.

“I think it turned out really good,” Ms. Sullivan said, adding, “And it looked really pretty.”

Cooking in front of judges for the first time was nerve-wracking, but in the end both girls said they enjoyed the experience and would compete in the contest again next year.

The girls said the hardest part of the competition was watching the judges eat what they had just prepared.

“We were sitting there watching them and thinking, ‘Please like, please like it,’” Ms. Cheney said.

As of Friday afternoon only six spots remained for high school teams, with five slots available for middle school teams.

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