On Tuesday, December 16, four HANC High School student chefs, along with the director of student life, competed in the first-ever Chanukah Latke Cook-Off at the Garden City Hotel against students from the Solomon Schechter High School. Each team prepared three latke recipes that represent their school. Rabbi Anshel Perl kashered the hotel’s kitchen and toveled the new utensils provided by the Garden City Hotel.
Students Rachel Levian, Leah Glatzerman, Ari Levine, and Mathew Katz cooked their hearts out before six judges ranging from politicians, rabbis, and culinary experts. They included Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, Rabbi Perl of Chabad of Mineola, and executive chef of the hotel, Michael Mandato.
The HANC chefs prepared a traditional potato latke, an Israel-themed “falafelatke,” and the Persian favorite Kookoo-Sabzi latke. Students arrived at 10 a.m. and began to prepare in the hotel’s master kitchen. After 90 minutes, the team presented the panel of judges with the final product. The judges were particularly impressed by the HANC team not only for their culinary expertise but for their creativity in presentation. The HANC team described the significance behind their choice of recipes, which depicted the Jewish experiences throughout the ages.
This event was taped and was televised on Channel 12, Fox 5, and Fios and broadcast on CBS Radio. In the end, both schools displayed poise under pressure and wowed the judges with their culinary expertise. The judges declared both teams winners, as they had a difficult time choosing, and presented the participants with certificates. HANC chefs were acknowledged particularly for their plating, presentations, and professionalism.
The team is grateful to Director of Student Life Rabbi Daniel Mezei for his culinary expertise and for his support throughout the event.