Tofu Team Takes Junior Iron Chef by Storm

The high School’s “Team Falcons” quartet of Jenna Fisk, Tamara Robinson, Neurlie Surin and Trinity Wade took Whole Foods in Lake Grove by storm as they chopped, sauteed and cooked their morning away for a chance at the top spot at the fifth annual Junior Iron Chef competition. The purpose of the competition is to help students make connections to healthy eating.

Suffolk County Cornell Cooperative Extension hosted the one-day event where middle and high school students showed off their cooking skills in groups of three to five. A total of 24 teams from schools and other organizations were given one hour to cook a vegetarian or vegan-based dish that they could incorporate in their school cafeteria menu. Each team was given several weeks to plan and prepare a dish using five main ingredients, two of which had to be United States Department of Agriculture commodity foods like beans, grains, fruits and vegetables, which make up part of school cafeteria menus. The recipes could not be desserts, nor could they include meat, fish or nuts.

Deer Park’s original recipe for Pan Asian Tofu Medley, created by Fisk, consisted of marinated pan-seared tofu with a red potato hash and asparagus, garnished with “special sauce.” The students practiced after school and with Deer Park’s food and nutrition class to perfect their recipe.

“The contest was actually tough because I was nervous,” said Surin. “It was my very first time going and I was worried if I’d make a mistake or not.”

“I do hope to do it again, although it was a bit intimidating,” added Fisk.

“It was very exciting and fun to do,” said Trinity Wade. “I really enjoyed competing against other schools and people from all over Long Island. It was very crowded, but as a team we all tried to work it out and we succeeded.”

According to FACS teacher Patricia Skjoldahl, 2017 was Deer Park’s test year, and the Team Falcons plan to return to Junior Iron Chef next year and win.