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    Wegmans Hosting Iron Chef Competition

    High schoolers square off at grocer’s conference center

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, Stagnito Business Information

    The annual East High School Iron Chef Competition, scheduled to take place at Wegmans Conference Center, will feature the culinary skills and hospitality management knowledge of eight teenage students competing for more than $8,000 in scholarships to their preferred schools and to raise money for East High's Culinary Program.

    Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans is also selling tickets to the event at its in-store service desks, with proceeds to benefit the East High Culinary Program.

    Iron Chef Showdown

    Each of the eight East High culinary teams, made up of one student with two local "celebrity" sous chefs, will prepare a main-course entree in one hour, all working from the same recipe. Among the participating celebs are Scott Spezzano, of radio station 98 PXY; United Way’s Peter Carpino; and Augie Melendez, president of the Hillside Work Scholarship Program.

    The teams will be judged on teamwork, personal appearance, food safety, knife skills, flavor and presentation. The panel of expert judges includes Wegmans Executive Chef Chris Brandt, Wegmans Director of Asian Cuisine John Emerson, Wegmans Executive Chef Andy Golden, and local Rochester chefs John Freeze and Brad Yearwood.

    "It's been an amazing experience to watch the students flourish in this incredible program and to be able to support their efforts," said Emerson. "This is going to be a very exciting competition."

    The Culinary Program, begun at East High School in 2000 by chef Jeff Christiano, has established partnerships with Wegmans, Advantage Federal Credit Union, Sam's Club, Foodlink, Maines, Red Apple and Latinas Unidas, among other companies. Under the program, students can learn culinary techniques alongside Wegmans executive chefs, complete an industry-based curriculum, and gain work-based learning experience, as well as internship and volunteer work expertise.

    Family-owned Wegmans operates 84 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, Stagnito Business Information
    • About Bridget Goldschmidt In addition to serving as Progressive Grocer’s Managing Editor, Bridget writes many print and digital features encompassing a range of grocery and fresh categories across the store. Bridget also enjoys on-site reporting assignments at such key industry events as the New York Fancy Food Show and the International Boston Seafood Show, in addition to visiting stores for PG’s prestigious Store of the Month feature. In her years with the magazine, she has developed into a knowledgeable voice on grocery industry trends, sought by such distinguished publications as The New York Times.

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