Flood Brook Tigers stir the crowd at Jr. Iron Chef competition

The Flood Brook Tigers team of junior chefs brought home the Crowd Pleaser Award during this year’s Jr. Iron Chef 10th annual competition, held at the Champlain Valley Exposition Center in Essex Junction on March 18.

From left, Halyn McIntyre, Alex Wasyliko and Stella Turner preparing their winning dish for the Jr. Iron Chef competition on March 18. Photo provided.

The Flood Brook team, made up of Halyn McIntyre, Alex Wasyliko and Stella Turner and coached by Lini Mazumdar, was joined by 55 other middle and high school teams from 26 schools from throughout Vermont that were challenged to create healthy and local dishes that highlighted their culinary mastery.

Each team was give 90 minutes to prepare and plate their dishes.

There are three awards all of equal importance that a team could win in their respective heats. The Crowd Pleaser is awarded to the dish that best incorporates color, texture and taste for a true crowd pleaser.  The Lively Local is awarded to the dish best highlighting Vermont foods. The Mise en Place is awarded to the team that shows exemplary teamwork, order and professionalism

The Flood Brook Tigers’ winning dish was vegetarian samosas with cilantro and mint chutney. It impressed the judges enough to earn the Crowd Pleaser Award in the middle school morning heat.

After the event, Haylan McIntire said, “I never knew that kids could be such good cooks until I went to the competition and everyone was so experienced and was having so much fun. It was amazing.”

Team members began meeting in January and developed their cooking techniques, kitchen problem solving and teamwork with  coaching by local Indian cuisine expert Lini Mazumdar.  Flood Brook Chef Kelly Foster and Clark’s IGA donated practice space and food throughout the entire program.

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