On Thursday, March 31st at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, the Manischewtiz Company will host their 5th Annual Man-O-Manischewitz Live Cook Off. The purpose of the competition is to encourage home chefs to experiment with kosher products while preparing delicious recipes that could become a new family favorite or that have been shared from generation to generation. Jamie Geller, returning for a second time, will be a judge on a panel lead by legendary Chef , TV Personality, and Cookbook author, Jacques Pépin!
The five finalists come from all over the country with ages ranging from 26 to 61. While some are new to kosher cuisine, they all share a passion for cooking:
- Dina Burcat, 26 - from Baltimore, MD with her Shallot Smothered Chicken is a Jewish Day School teacher in Baltimore who loves to cook, create recipes and blog about them. She also volunteers on the board of her elementary school in Harrisburg, PA.
- Jeanette Nelson, 30- from Sophia, WV with her Golden Sweet Potato Tagine is a mother of three young girls. She volunteers at a local parochial school, but is a big fan of ethnic cuisines, having entered several other cooking contests. Jeanette was a semi-finalist in the 2nd Manischewitz Cook-Off and comes back this year to try to claim the grand prize! She is no stranger to cooking competitions; she has also won the Sarah Lee contest and was a finalist in the “Build a Better Burger” National Recipe Contest.
- Naylet LaRochelle, 40- from Miami, FL with her Moroccan Chicken Bowl is a mother of two girls and a boy and is a full time school psychologist who enjoys cooking and entering competitions in her spare time. Although Naylet is second generation Cuban-American and is fluent in Spanish, she loves expanding her cooking repertoire by experimenting with kosher products and recipes! She won the “Build a Burger” cook-off, Cozy Shack Pudding competition and the American Pie Championships.
- Stuart Davis, 45- from Cherry Hill, NJ with his Chicken and Egg Donburi was selected through the “Online Voting” component that allowed consumers to have a role in the judging process. Stuart is a father of three girls and one boy. Although cooking is his passion, this is the first contest he has ever entered! Stuart was a mortgage banker for 10 years and now teaches a class called “Digesting Hebrew” at Temple Beth Shalom in his hometown. Previously, he taught English in Japan and speaks the language fluently.
- Suzanne Banfield, 61- from Basking Ridge, NJ with her Simple Fisherman’s Stew was diagnosed with Celiac disease and learned that she needed to start cooking gluten-free and dairy-free. After some research, she saw that kosher cooking is a great way to maintain that lifestyle. Suzanne is retired and volunteers at the Women’s Heart organization because she is a heart disease patient and enjoys helping others around the country deal with the disease. She loves experimenting with different ethnic foods and products as well as entering cooking contests. She won the “Build a Burger” contest in 2009. She also won Junior’s Cheesecake Challenge with her winning recipe to be featured on their menu.
The winner will be crowned with the Grand Prize worth $25,000, which includes GE Kitchen Appliances and Cash.
Manischewitz will be showcasing their line of All Natural Broth, used in the cook-off recipes, as well as over 25 brand new Passover products such as Macaroon Pie Shells, Chocolate Covered Biscotti, Cotton Candy and much more.
Manischewitz is the proud founding sponsor of Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), a national month of recognition of the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture, celebrated in May. JAHM acknowledges the achievements of Jewish Americans in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service. Updates on this historic month are available on www.jahm.us and will continue through May 31, 2011.