It’s been a great week for students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware. Tuesday we celebrated the accomplishments of six graduates from The Culinary School at the Milford Branch, and last Saturday, two lucky Culinary students from Newark, Andrew Morley and Nelson Velazquez, had the opportunity to participate in the Union Lodge #21 annual men’s cook off at the New Castle Moose Lodge. The event was sponsored by Basil Restaurant, Desserts by Dana and Ubon Thai Cuisine.
More than 150 guests enjoyed tasting samples from local professional and amateur chefs. Nelson and Andrew were thankful for the opportunity to participate.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Andrew. “Each chef was required to prepare 100 samples of their dish. That was by far the most interesting part, as I’ve never made food for 100 people. It was a great experience.”
Andrew made meatloaf sliders. He cooked six meatloaves, cut them into slider size pieces and added a spicy chipotle ketchup. His dish got rave reviews from attendees.
“My favorite part of the night was meeting other chefs and seeing how they prepare the food and how they present it,” he explained. “I am just a student; there were a lot of professional chefs there and to see how well they ran things and how well they were prepared – I was just flying by the seat of my pants!”
Nelson prepared mini beef empanadas for guests.
“I’m glad everyone liked my food,” he said. “All these people were coming back for seconds. It made me feel proud of what I was putting out there for them.”
Nelson says the networking opportunities at the event were invaluable.
“I got a lot of compliments, so I was really happy about that,” he said. “It made me feel that my food is worthy. I was just glad for the experience and being able to put my product out there and people liking it.”
Proceeds from the evening benefitted the Union Square Foundation, the 501(c)3 charitable arm of Union Lodge #21.
Check out some photos from the evening!