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The secret ingredient? Teamwork

BC High holds first ever Iron Chef competition

High school extracurricular life is replete with competition, but Thursday, Oct. 7, saw a race to the finish of a different sort in the kitchens of Bethlehem Central High School, where students took part in the school's first ever Iron Chef competition.

21 students formed teams and faced off to create the most delicious dishes, which were judged by High School Principal Chuck Abba, Chef Andrew Ottati, executive chef at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Albany and Chef Noah Sheetz, executive chef at the New York Governor's Mansion.

The competition was broadcast over a closed circuit to spectators in an adjoining room.

Students had the opportunity to work with fresh, locally-grown ingredients donated by the Delmar Farmers Market.

We were looking to get a program that makes a good connection between students, healthy food and local produce, said BC Physical Education and Health Subject Supervisor Frederick Powers, who spearheaded organization of the event.

Chef Ottati said he would be looking not only for flavorful, well presented dishes, but a sense of organization on the teams as they prepared their offerings.

"I think it's a great idea," he said of the competition. "It's good to see so many kids into the culinary arts."

Students had one hour and thirty minutes to work on their creations, after which they were sampled and rated by the judges. The scoring rubric incorporated consideration for the use of local ingredients.

Local restaurants like Panza's on the Green at Normanside Country Club, Shogun Restaurant and Java Jazz Cafe donated gift certificates for prizes.

The winning dish of the evening was a Giambotta vegetable stew with Crustini and veggie chips prepared by Rachel Musiker, Rachael Micelli and Moriah Greenstein. The high school's food service staff will prepare the dish for lunch on Thursday, Oct. 21.

Other notable dishes include a veggie quiche made by Rebecca Liebschutz, Joe Betts, Rebecca Lang and Sarah Morse and a peach, apple, pear and raspberry pie prepared by Anthony Gornic and Danny Evans.

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