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bustling kitchen at Junior Chef comp
It was a bustling kitchen as teams stood side to side preparing their salads. Above, Hooper Avenue's Sarah Schmid and Kristi Bohrer work alongside Silver Bay's Nicholas Grosch and Vasiliki Ploumitsakos and West Dover's Kendall Royer and Lynn Denisco. When all was said and done, however, it was Washington Street's Jada Gould, right, with her helper Lori Wilson, whose Summer Salad Special took home the prize.

winning salad Junior Chef competition

Summer Salad lives up to its 'Special' name

May 5, 2023-- Last year's inaugural Junior Chef competition-- the brainchild of Food Services Director Jeff Hanaway-- was a huge success. This year, version 2.0 pitted elementary school chefs against one another in a friendly competition to determine who makes the district's best salad.

The site this time around was High School East, which is appropriate considering the school houses the district's Food Services Department. The contestants, their salads, and their school's cafeteria sous chefs were:

Cedar Grove: Emma Burdge, Buffalo Salad (Jennifer Delman)

West Dover: Kendall Royer, Taste Bud Rollercoaster (Lynn Denisco)

North Dover: Isabella Rios Pita Bottger, Savory Bacon and Noodle Salad (Maria Cunha)

East Dover: Zoey Oliver, Greek Goddess Salad (Angela Sabie)

Silver Bay: Nicholas Grosch, Broccoli Salad (Vasiliki Ploumitsakos)

Citta: Austin Inferrera, AI Junior Special (Amanda McCarthy)

Beachwood: Mia Raso, Mia’s Magical Rainbow Salad (Missy Keenan)

Hooper Avenue: Sarah Schmid, Scrumptious Tropical Salad (Kristi Bohrer)

South Toms River: Benjamin Jubert, El Taco Salad (Freida Minkema)

Walnut Street: Jacqueline Ava Lamarsh, Pasta Shell Salad (Clare MacIver)

Pine Beach: Victoria Carpinteyro, Watermelon Feta (Kathy Semchesyn)   

Washington Street: Jada Gould, Summer Salad Special (Lori Wilson) 

Like last year, when West Dover took home the "healthy sandwich" crown, an esteemed group of food lovers comprised the judging panel. They were:

  • Superintendent Mike Citta
  • Board member Melissa Morrison
  • JBJ Soul Kitchen Executive Chef Rob Wood
  • Curriculum Director Rachel Cicala

High School East students from TRSTV livestreamed the event, which was a brand new feature of the competition. In fact, as the students prepared their salads in the kitchen and were being interview by judges and TRSTV correspondents, parents and families out in the auditorium were able to watch the action on a huge screen.

In the end, it was Washington Street's Jada Gould who impressed the judges the most, and her Summer Salad Special was declared the winner. Way to go, Jada! And congratulations to all of the individual school winners and Junior Chef participants for putting together another fun and tasty event, a burgeoning district tradition.

Jeff and Melissa Morrison
Food Services Director Jeff Hanaway stands with board member and Junior Chef judge Melissa Morrison in the kitchen as students prepare their salads.
winner winner salad dinner

Winner, winner, salad dinner! Washington Street Elementary School junior chef Jada Gould made the finals, and then won the competition with her Summer Salad Special.

TRSTV behind the scenes

TRSTV went behind the scenes to livestream the event, filming the salad preparation in the kitchen, where elbow room was sparse but spirits were high.