For the fourth consecutive year, the New Jersey Association of Counties (NJAC) held a County Vocational-Technical School Cook Off at their Annual Celebration of County Government Convention at Casers in Atlantic City (AC) in May. Eleven of the 21 county vocational-technical schools are selected to compete for titles in taste, creativity and food presentation by preparing an appetizer within a $500 budget for 400 conference attendees. This year was the second time Polytech was selected to compete and this time, they came home as winners.
The competition requires a team of 5 to 6 culinary art students to create a creative appetizer that is presented around a theme. The appetizers are then judged by all of the convention guests, NJAC Officials, and professional chefs from Atlantic City. This year the students created a ‘farm to table’ theme and appetizer to signify the farming community of Hunterdon County. Their booth was decorated with a replica of the Readington River Buffalo Farm while they served a coffee charred buffalo carpaccio served with a spring vegetable salad and locally foraged ramp aioli appetizer. Other vocational technical schools presented their appetizer in booths to look like a Food Truck, an Italian Deli and a Revolutionary War heritage.
At the end of the day, Polytech, was one of the top selected entries winning silver in the NJAC Judges Awards for Taste and a Bronze in the AC Chefs Award for Presentation. Polytech’s Culinary Arts instructor, Chef Paul Ingenito stated, “The experience and the exhilaration of competition was top notch and the students were professional and prideful”.
As the incoming 2016 NJAC President, Hunterdon County Freeholder Director John King was present and shared that he was delighted with Polytech’s presentation in what has become a great event at the convention. He added that “Hunterdon was truly unique with locally grown bison in a carpaccio that melted in the mouth as was evident by the Silver Medal, NJAC Judges Award”. As incoming 2016 NJAC President, Freeholder King stated that Polytech will automatically be selected for the competitions at NJAC’s 66th Annual Celebration