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The Chopping Block Area chefs compete in Iron Chef to benefit the Cocalico Education Foundation
By: LUCY RICCOMINI Review Staff, Staff Writer
The Cocalico Education Foundation will host the seventh annual Iron Chef Cocalico culinary event on March 3 at the Cocalico High School from 1 to 5 p.m.
The Review got a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation that goes into the event on Feb. 21 as the chefs "ironed" out details, rules, regulations, and attempted to find out what this year’s secret ingredient was.
The event incorporates food, entertainment and award-winning artwork to raise funds for educational opportunities for students and adults in the Cocalico School District.
"The education committee is a nonprofit organization that raises money and scholarships for students at Cocalico School district," said Christopher Dunn, Cocalico School District director of food services.
"It’s a good fit for me because I take care of the food and make sure everything is good to go," added Dunn, who also chairs the event.
Chef Scott Snyder from the Ephrata Community Hospital, Chef David Shefter from Penn Werner Hotel and Chef Kelly Kapinos from Lily’s on Main will compete in a lively culinary competition for the title of Iron Chef.
"We really appreciate these guys doing this," said Morris Lapi, who co-chairs the event. "Last year the event earned $12,000 and all of it went towards classroom grants and we couldn’t do it without Chris. The custodial staff is really helpful too, so we’re really appreciative of all those things."
Chef Tom Gillin of Blue Ridge Cable and Chef Bill Scepansky of Smart Partner will emcee the competition. Corporate event sponsors and local food purveyors will supply many of the fresh ingredients, some of which will be a mystery to the chefs until the start of the completion, also known as "the zinger."
In addition to the Iron Chef culinary challenge, guests will have the opportunity to sample and judge the People’s Choice competition "On The Boardwalk."
Chef Michael Durante, Historic Reinholds Inn; Chef Jaimie Hanna, Reflections; Dave Kowalchick of Dave’s Diner in Adamstown, and Irene Pascal from Spring Glen Fresh Foods will enter their culinary specialties in the competition. The winner of the People’s Choice will automatically be entered in next year’s Iron Chef challenge.
As always, a highlight of the event is the food tasting fair. Over 25 area restaurants and food purveyors will provide samples of their house specialties.
Many students at Cocalico High School are producing award-winning artwork, particularly in the handmade jewelry and ceramics programs. A limited number of these pieces will be donated to the Education Foundation for the live benefit auction. Fine art and many other local artists’ work will be up for bid. Auctioneers Brad Wolf and Art Pannebecker will auction off other valuable items including pottery, hand-crafted furniture, and much more. An open judge’s seat for the Iron Chef challenge will be up for bid during the event auction as well.
A special raffle will be drawn for a chance to win a Weber grill, microwave and monetary gift card.
Casey Allyn of I105 WIOV will co-host alongside voice of the Lancaster Barnstormers John Witwer to emcee the Iron Chef event.
Admission to the event is $15 per adult and $8 per student in grades kindergarten to 12th. Tickets are available at the Cocalico School District’s central office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Tickets can also be purchased at Weavers Markets in Adamstown and Blue Ridge Communications. You can also contact the Cocalico Education Foundation at 336-1413 or cocalico.org. Detailed event brochures can be found in area businesses.