West Belmont Place at The National Conference Center hosted its first Junior Iron Chef Competition on Saturday, June 25 with 19 busy junior chefs vying for a grand prize, a Chef’s Table for 10 to host their parents, teachers and friends. The first annual event was part of the property’s Jazz It Up event celebrating the second anniversary under new management.
The participants were in two categories, determined by age, where they got to prepare a savory or sweet preparation.
In one category, 14 junior chefs aged 6-12 years old decorated cakes using piping bags, baking utensils, many different icings and decorations. In the other category, 5 participants aged 13-16 concocted savory dishes from a mystery basket of ingredients including pasta of all shapes and sizes, herbs from The National’s garden, nuts, peso, homemade tomato sauces, mushrooms, shrimp, and chicken.
Proceeds from the event benefited Hope’s Kitchen, the Leesburg Community Church soup kitchen project.
“We are so thrilled that the community has embraced The National and are excited to celebrate and debut this cooking competition,” said Executive Chef Chris Ferrier. “So many families are cooking together these days, and we want this to be an annual event that celebrates good healthy, family fun.”
In the sweet category, winners include: First place, Mei Torrey, age 10; second place, Zuri Allen, age 11; and third place, Satya Tarafda, age 11. In the savory category, winners include: first place, Ashley Jones, age 15; second place, Tabitha Ann Strain, age 15; and third place, Ryan Vanesko, age 13.
The panel of judges included Geoff Lawson, General Manager of West Belmont Place at The National; Denise Benoit, Benoit Marketing; Executive Chef Chris Ferrier; and John Walsh, Food and Beverage Director at West Belmont Place and The National.