By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
Ocean Township — The winning healthy snack was a fresh and fruity dip with pita chips. It was created by Carli Colfer, a fifth-grade student from the Ocean Township Intermediate School.
Out of 230 students in the township, Colfer and her dip won the Sodexo Healthy After-School Snack Competition, which is part of the 2015 Future Chefs Challenge. Cory Goldfarb, general manager of Sodexo for the Ocean Township School District, was excited about this year’s event.
“This is my third year organizing this event here in the township. The first year we had the students create healthy salads, last year was healthy sandwiches and this year we went with an after-school snack theme,” said Goldfarb.
According to Goldfarb, one of the key ingredients is that students should be able to make the snacks on their own.
“The concept is that students could make the snack after school without supervision from their parents,” Goldfarb said. “We asked the students to use their creativity and culinary skills to make healthy snacks.”
Students in grade three to five participated in the competition. All were asked to submit recipes and names for their snack and the top 10 in the district were selected by Goldfarb and his staff to participate in the cook off final on March 7, at the Intermediate School.
Making the cut were Myles Fort, a fourth grader at the Wanamassa Elementary School with his “Apple Race Cars”; Jacob Bazer, fifth grader. Intermediate School with his “Mr. Berry” snack; Madison Lousine, third grader, Wanamassa Elementary School and her “Cake Batter Energy Balls”; Sarah Barkey, third grader, Dow Elementary School and “Tomato Soup Shooters”; Zach Reisler, third grader, Dow Elementary School and his “Pita-Pile-On”; Roshan Sell, fourth grader, Wayside Elementary School and his “The Party Parfait”; Samantha Brannen, fourth grader, Wanamassa Elementary School and her “Slammin Sam’s Roll Up Extravaganza”; Jackie Martinez, fourth grader, Wayside Elementary School and her “Corny Bean Salad”; and Brianna Marshall, third grader, Dow Elementary School and her “Mini Dill Bowl.”
Chrissy Decker, Helen Kallok, Casey Klohr, Candice Mattia, Fatima Zaqvi, Cass Reng, and Rachel Xenaiks are students from the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) program at the Ocean Township High School who volunteered to help the future chefs. Goldfarb also had some of his staff volunteer on Saturday. Liz Alioto, Rose Tiffany Mcvey, Debbie Blackton, Tara Baskin and Marlene Miranda came in on their day off to help the young chefs.
Goldfarb brought in special judges for the competition; Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, District Superintendent James Stefankiewicz, Ocean Township Board of Education President Denise Parlamas, board members Robert Acerra and Sylvia Sylvia-Cioffi. The 2014 winner of the healthy sandwich contest, Abby Chernet, who is now in sixth grade was also asked to judge.
The judges were looking for originality, taste, ease of presentation, kid friendliness and use of healthy ingredients.
As the winner Colfer will now represent the Township of Ocean in the regional competition. Regional finalists will then vie to become one of five national finalists competing for the public’s vote on a special Future Chefs TouTube channel.
All of the students in the Ocean Township finals received a lunch box filled with various kid-friendly items, a medal, Sodexo attire, and medals. Colfer was given a large colander filled with kid-sized cooking utensils, a kids cook book and a FitBit activity tracker.