The New York Institute of Technology held its second annual “Cast Iron Chef” competition on Thursday, May 28, where local police officers put down their badges and picked up a chef’s apron. Old Westbury’s de Seversky Mansion played host to the competition, which allowed police officers to showcase their best culinary skills.
The teams’ goal was to create an appetizer and entrée from a random basket of ingredients, which included pork tenderloins, soft shell crab, sauerkraut, fresh figs, a bottle of beer, spicy brown mustard, a New York-style pretzel and white truffle oil.
The Nassau County Police Department, Old Westbury Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department and New York City’s 20th Precinct all competed in the event. Each department was presented a check for $2,000 to donate to a charity of their choice. Old Brookville Police Department, last year’s winner, was not able to attend the event.
“This is a great way for NYIT and our neighbors to get together to show appreciation for the police officers responsible for protecting the communities where we live and work,” said Leonard Aubrey, NYIT Vice President for Financial Affairs.
The teams rushed against the clock, using their cooking expertise to prepare the most mouthwatering plates. Looking to outthink each other, the teams looked to turn their unique, unrelated ingredients into a chef-d’oeurve. First, the teams needed to use their quick thinking police mentality to figure out how to combine the ingredients. Then, when the recipe was devised, they needed to put it into action. Finally, the teams needed to organize their plates to pass the presentation inspection.
The Old Westbury Police Department proved their culinary mastery and took first place in the competition. The team was made up of officers Frank Ciofrone, Tom Gorman, Gregory Gormsen and Tracey Stemmle. The team’s distinctive, appetizing meals impressed the judges the most. The teams were judged on their creativity, taste and presentation.
Nassau County PD and New York City’s 20th precinct were named the runners-up. Nassau’s team included Robert Cernilli, Ron Citarella, Gary Koffsky and Joe Nappi. The 20th precinct included Maribel Colon, Michael Kleber, Maria Marte and Tatiana Paulovichi.
The competition’s judges were Christian Mir, proprietor and chef of Stone Creek Inn, East Quogue, NY; Fran Gutleber, founder and CEO of Total Fitness; and Ledwin Araujo, a NYIT student majoring in criminal justice.
“Once again this year, I was impressed by the culinary talents of the police teams,” said Robert Rizzuto, NYIT Director of Dining Services, who is the head chef at NYIT de Seversky Mansion. “Each team came with well-honed skills and knowledge of technique, flavors and presentation.”
When the competition concluded and the cops traded in their aprons for their badges, everyone knew that these officers weren’t just trained in police ability, but in the culinary arts, too.