Chef Travis Szerensits, of Uncle's Hawaiian Grindz in Fallston, was recently chosen the winner of the American Association of University Women's 8th annual Food Fight.
Held at the Vandiver Inn in Havre de Grace, the 36 judges had a difficult time selecting the winner from the other three participants – Chef Bryan Boessel, of One Eleven Main; Chef Stephen Seth, of Silks Restaurant at Bulle Rock; and Chef Jacob Nelson, of Black Eyed Suzie's.
"The enthusiasm for Food Fight grows each year," committee chair Janine Seadler said, "and it was evident in the beautiful inn where approximately 70 spectators also watched the creativity of the chefs."
Alaina Pippett, of Alaina's Gourmet Creations, was the color commentator and HCC Professor Wayne Hepler was the announcer. Isabella Rodriguez, a recent HCC graduate and designer of the Food Fight poster, attended as a spectator and shared that "it looked like the chefs were enjoying the cooking almost as much as I was."
The chefs worked with the five secret ingredients of chicken thighs, rhubarb, expresso, okra and gochujang along with a pantry of a variety of items to create an appetizer and main course in just 60 minutes.
"Seeing first-hand the culinary genius and artistry our local chefs have is a joyous gift," Mignion Faretta-Cotton, one of the judges, said.
Eleven year old Antonio Fuggitti, who was a judge for the third time, said the food was "fantastic" and he liked how even though Chef Travis didn't know what he was going to cook, he seemed not to be worried about it.
Because of the generosity of sponsors and donors, AAUW will be able to fund several scholarships for women. They are grateful for the support of Amrein Foods, O'Neill Enterprises, Shaffer, McLauchlin & Stover, Madaco Marketing - home of Coffee News, the DiBerardino Family, Genevieve DiGiovanni, Bernadette Low, Coffee Coffee, Flavor Cupcakery and Bake Shop, Aruba, Mignon Faretta–Cotton, Maryland Mutual Mortgage LLC and Wegman's.
The American Association of University Women advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. For more information go to harfordcounty-md.aauw.net.