Michael Lomonaco Emcees Flik Invitational Cook-off to Raise Money for Children's Culinary Education

On Friday, May 6th, Chef, Restaurateur and TV Personality Michael Lomonaco will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Flik Invitational Cook-off, an Iron Chef-like culinary competition to raise funds for children's culinary education programming. Flik Independent School Dining, which provides the foodservice and catering programs for over 125 independent schools, is hosting the event at The Trinity School in Manhattan to support Spoons Across America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating children, teachers, and families about the benefits of healthy eating. The proceeds from the event will go towards funding a Spoons Across America Dinner Party Project in New York City, where students learn the entire process of planning a dinner party for their families in a school or community center setting. Each culinary team consists of the school’s Flik Independent School Dining Executive Chef plus 11 students who will share the responsibilities of competing in the cook-off and implementing the catering duties for the event. The student culinary teams have worked together under the guidance of their executive chef for weeks in advance of the Cook-off to learn how to plan, prepare and budget for a three course meal, which they will prepare and present to a panel of judges at the Cook-off. Each team’s three-course meal will be judged on taste, presentation, creativity, nutritional balance, team participation and sanitation.

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Teaching our children how to enjoy the experience of cooking and working with food is one of the most important skills we can give them.

Rye Brook, N.Y. (PRWEB) April 18, 2011

Flik Independent School Dining and Spoons Across America® share a common belief; when children are taught how to plan and prepare meals, they do more than just learn how to cook. They gain an understanding of knowing where their food comes from, the nutritional value of what they are eating, and the joy of sharing meals around the family table. To share and spread this belief, the two organizations have teamed up to host the first Flik Invitational Cook-off, an Iron Chef-like culinary competition to raise funds to implement Spoons Across America’s The Dinner Party Project®.

On Friday, May 6, 2011, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the dining room of The Trinity School at 115 West 91st Street, culinary teams from The Trinity School, The Dalton School and The Grace Church School, all in Manhattan, will compete for kitchen bragging rights and to raise funds to implement The Dinner Party Project in New York City. Each culinary team consists of the school’s Flik Independent School Dining Executive Chef plus 11 students who will share the responsibilities of competing in the cook-off and implementing the catering duties for the event.

Through The Dinner Party Project, students learn the entire process of planning a dinner party for their families in a school or community center. The program is a multi-week curriculum and has been implemented successfully in 27 cities throughout the nation.

Michael Lomonaco, Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Porter House New York at Time Warner Center, author and television personality, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the competition. In addition to entertaining the crowd throughout the culinary competition, Mr. Lomonaco will also meet with the culinary teams prior to the competition to encourage and inspire them, as well as present them with awards for their hard work at the close of the competition.

“Teaching our children how to enjoy the experience of cooking and working with food is one of the most important skills we can give them,” says Michael Lomonaco. “It is an honor working with Flik Independent School Dining and Spoons Across America to make culinary education available to this generation. They will surely benefit from the skills they’ve gained, and so will their children.”

The evening of competition will certainly be the fun and entertaining part to witness, but it is the five to six weeks leading up to the competition in which the student chefs will learn the most. The three Flik Independent School Dining Executive Chefs selected their team of eleven students according to their particular school’s parameters. After assembling the team, the chefs met with their teams on a regular basis to: explain the competition guidelines; develop the menu based on the budget and equipment they have to work with and the categories they will be judged on; discuss place-setting needs; identify roles and responsibilities for the competition; practice food preparation and; prepare for the final competition.

Each team will have the same set of cooking equipment, utensils and budget to work with and is required to present to the judging panel one cold appetizer, one hot entrée plus accompaniments and one cold dessert. Following 45 minutes of preparation time, the teams will plate, set proper place settings for and present their three courses to the panel of judges. Each team’s three-course meal will be judged on taste, presentation, creativity, nutritional balance, team participation and sanitation.

The six judges include: Christopher Smith, Executive Chef of The Crowne Plaza Times Square; Liz Schaible, Department of Hospitality Chair of New York City College of Technology/CUNY; Ray Mulligan, President of Flik Independent School Dining; John Allman, Head Master of The Trinity School; Robert Sloan, Theatre Teacher/Theatre Department Chair of The Dalton School and cookbook author and; Barbara Bolog Haney, Head of Lower School of The Grace Church School.

“Children learn so much from cooking instruction, including a respect for the people that grow and prepare their food, the land it is grown on and what they put into their bodies,” says Ray Mulligan, President of Flik Independent School Dining. “Our chefs teach these principles to the students on a daily basis, through the day-to-day meal program and additional opportunities, such as culinary clubs and food demonstrations. The cook-off is a unique opportunity for students interested in food and cooking to work side-by-side with a highly-trained chef and be inspired by Michael Lomonaco, one of the most respected chefs in the business.”

Jeffrey Bank, a member of Spoons’ Board of Trustees, adds, “An event like this is culinary education at its best -- fun and hands-on. The best part is that the funds raised will go towards sharing the joy and learning of The Dinner Party Project with additional schools and teaching even more children the fundamentals of cooking and preparing meals to share with their families.”

Flik Independent School Dining’s team of Executive Chefs for the New York City Schools it serves are preparing a delicious menu of stationary and passed hors d’oeuvres, desserts and beverages for both adults and children to enjoy. Spicy cheese and jalapeño wontons with avocado dip, ceviche of shrimp and halibut on plantain chips, mini chocolate bark with dried fruit, cheesecake popsicles and fresh fruit-infused waters and teas are just a few examples of what will be served.

The Flik Invitational Cook-off taking place at The Trinity School is a pilot project. Flik Independent School Dining and Spoons Across America plan to take this model and implement it in cities across the country.

About Spoons Across America
Spoons Across America®, the source for children’s culinary education, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating children, teachers, and families about the benefits of healthy eating. The organization works to influence the eating habits of children through hands-on education that celebrates the connection to local farmers and the important tradition of sharing meals around the family table. For more information, visit http://www.spoonsacrossamerica.org.

About Flik Independent School Dining
Flik Independent School Dining, a division of the Charlotte, NC-based Compass Group, provides dining services for over 125 private schools nationwide. Its team of food and nutrition experts is dedicated entirely to creating fun, healthful and innovative dining solutions for private and independent school communities. Fresh, healthful food preparation utilizing batch cooking techniques and locally and sustainably-sourced ingredients has always been the cornerstone of the company’s operating philosophy. For more information, visit http://www.FlikISD.com.

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