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Students saute their way to victory

Eighth grade students in the Chef Club mixed food with fun at their mock Iron Chef competition on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at Schalmont Middle School in Rotterdam.

Students, advised by Diane Babin, worked to put the event together: picking the meals, the teams and the secret ingredient of garlic, working to make the event go off without a problem.

The four teams of two cooks each worked during lunch and their resource period to prepare, cook, and finalize their chosen dish for teacher and staff judges afterschool.

"Just putting it all together, it was time consuming, but it was fun," said Lauren Chrysler who, with the help of Corin Noga, created Linguini with garlic and broccoli.

"I think we just like cooking and want to learn more about it and become better chefs," said Elayna Johnson, whose partners Yelena Nichols and Skylark Wood created a rustica pasta dish for the event. "She [Mrs. Babin] really inspired us to make everything top notch."

"It's just a passion you know?" said Dominic Toma. "Both of our dads are great cooks. When you can't go outside you can stay in and cook instead of playing video games. There's so much you can do with it." With the help of Jordan Vanosky, Toma also created linguine with broccoli for the judges to sample.

The four groups created a wide range of dishes, with two groups creating Linguini-based dishes with broccoli and garlic, customizing both of their creations to their own specifications, to tortellini with fresh vegetables and the garlic-infused rustica. Each dish was prepared far in advance during the day and allowed for students to put on the finishing touches at the event in front of judges and teachers.

"I never took cooking in high school or middle school and I wish I had," said Schalmont Middle School Guidance Secretary Kathy Carney, who alongside English teacher John George and Mathematics teacher Fran Jackson, acted as judges for the event. Judges were asked to rate the food on a numeric scale, taking into account taste, presentation and other values to award a winner.

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