Vito’s cooking competition holds first round; vote online now

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Thu., Oct. 10, 2013
‘So You Think You Can Cook’ is a local cooking contest created by Vito’s owner and chef Rob Malfucci.  Each contestant is videoed doing what they love best in the kitchen and viewers can vote at www.vitosct.com.  Here, Malfucci holds one of the entrees for photographer Kyle Reyes. Photos by Jennifer Coe.
‘So You Think You Can Cook’ is a local cooking contest created by Vito’s owner and chef Rob Malfucci. Each contestant is videoed doing what they love best in the kitchen and viewers can vote at www.vitosct.com. Here, Malfucci holds one of the entrees for photographer Kyle Reyes. Photos by Jennifer Coe.

The first round of Vito’s annual cooking competition, “So You Think You Can Cook,” has come and gone. The frazzled nerves may be back to normal, but the efforts of the contestants are still under scrutiny, because you can now watch them online and vote for your favorite.

The local chefs participating in this year’s contest are Kerri Dehm Jenkins, Chris Jenkins, Kim Coccomo, Brendan McGuff, Anna Ciccome, Randi Deleo, Greg Olson, John B. and Robert Betts.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, the nine contestants had 30 minutes to create tasty and appealing dishes to impress the judges: Rob Malfucci, the owner of Vito’s and creator of the contest; Michael Smith, head brewer at BackEast Brewing; and Gregg DiGiacomo, sales manager at Performance Foodservice.

The four mystery ingredients revealed to the nervous chefs included butternut squash, goat cheese, sea scallops, and a bit of a twist: beef jerky. All the cooks created something slightly different – some just barely under the time allowed, and each fitting their own personalities.

Technology has played an important role in this cooking contest since it started last year. Malfucci placed videos of the 2012 chefs cooking online and sought out feedback from the general public, resulting in 75,000 views on YouTube. This year is the same. “We drive tons of our content to our Facebook page,” he said.

During round one, contestant, Randy Deleo prepared pan-seared scallops. She was praised for much of her dish, and was given constructive feedback.

“Pretty tasty,” Malfucci told her.

“Your scallops were cooked well,” said Smith.

Each judge rated the contestant on a scale of 1 to 10.

Another chef, Kerri Dehm Jenkins, got praise for her skillfully-presented plate, and the judges liked how her risotto was cooked. The chef amazed the judges by getting each of her three plates filled in last seconds of the allotted time, but she enjoyed the challenge. “This was more fun than I thought it would be,” said Dehm Jenkins. “I was having more fun than scared.”

The dishes were put before the judges, who narrowed the field down to six competitors. Videos of the six finalists can be seen online at www.vitosct.com or the Vito’s By The Water Facebook page. The competitor with the most “likes” gets to bring three ingredients of their choice to the next round; second most “likes” gets to bring two; and third gets to bring one.

Round two of the cooking contest will be held Oct. 26. The six remaining chefs will have 45 minutes to prepare an appetizer and entrée for the judges to try.


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