June 5th, 2013

Norwalk High School Culinary Department

Read all about Norwalk Grows HERE

Read about the competition in The Norwalk Hour HERE

Last week, Norwalk Grows hosted a very important event, the first ever Iron Chef School Lunch Competition… and I got to be a judge.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Norwalk Grows Program, Norwalk Grows, builds organic gardens that are taken care of by Norwalk Public School students.  We have one at our school, which is where our story begins…

265325_10151139582481380_942728444_oFifth grade students at Naramake Elementary School were given the challenge of using fruits and vegetables from our garden to create a new dish that would be judged. The winning dish would become part of the Norwalk School Cafeteria’s city-wide lunch menu.

The competition took place at Norwalk High School in their Culinary Arts Classroom.  The classroom is nothing like my classroom — it’s more like a HUGE restaurant kitchen.

photo copyThe panel of 8 judges included, Norwalk’s Mayor, The Honorable Richard Moccia, our school Principal, Ms. Karen Ockasi, Norwalk Board of Education Member Mr. Steve Colarossi, Mr. Anthony Alison of The Norwalk Children’s Foundation, and Executive Chef Pasquale (Pat) Pascarella from Bar Sugo in Norwalk.  There were also judges from Whitson’s Culinary Group who make all of the food for all of the Norwalk schools.

rickOur MC for the event was Mr. Rick McQuaid… our Town Clerk… who also used to work at my school.  The room was filled with tension as the students rushed to make their dish perfect, in time for the judges to taste them.

judge2When time was up, Mr. McQuaid reminded every one of the rules and then the judges got down to business…

First up… a Potato and Kale Fritatta


It was delicious, but I wasn’t sure if kids would really eat it because of how it looks – But, I’m sure if they tried it they would love it because it was super tasty.  One thing that was cool about this recipe, was the fritattas were made in a muffin pan — very innovative!

Next… Pesto Pasta or as they called it “Pasta With Green Sauce”


Totally good, I loved the pesto, but I thought it could use some garlic.  Kids love Pasta, but I’m not sure every kid would eat “Green Pasta” – remember, these are kids grades K-12… so we have to pick a dish that we knew that most kids would like.

Our final entry and the Winner… VEGETABLE FRIED RICE!


The winning recipe used very interesting ingredients, one was Bok Choy – which is a Chinese vegetable, it was very flavorful and most important it was colorful, and looked appetizing for a kid.

chefsA special Sunday Diners Congratulations to the winners!  I’m looking forward to having your creation for lunch soon, and thanks to all of the students who entered.

grows logoWe also want to give a shout out to Mrs. Lisa Lenskold for asking me to be a judge and for all of the great work she does as the Director of Norwalk Grows.

Now it’s your turn… You tell us which dish you think should have won…


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