STAMFORD, CT - Five talented teen chefs will compete in First County Bank’s Teen Chefs Challenge event on Saturday, March 9 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center during the Maple Sugar Festival Weekend. The teen chefs will compete in an exciting competition to create delicious dishes featuring Stamford Museum & Nature Center maple syrup as a main ingredient. This is the 19th year First County Bank has sponsored this family festival highlighting the New England tradition of maple sugaring.
Teen chefs competing are Danielle Weinberg Barro, Ella Schweizer, Maximus Galarza, Quanyia Ariyan Hackney and Rio Fernandez. They will battle it out at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center’s Knobloch Family Farmhouse. The teen chefs will each create 300 tasty samples of their dishes for the public and celebrity judges to sample. The cooking competition and voting are from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and the public is encouraged to cast their vote for the best dish. The winner will be declared by popular vote and by a panel of celebrity judges at 2 pm.
“We are proud to sponsor First County Bank’s Teen Chefs Challenge which is a highlight of the Stamford Museum and Nature Center’s Maple Sugar Festival Weekend,” said Robert Granata, COO and President, First County Bank. “The Maple Sugar Festival provides an excellent opportunity for these young chefs to showcase their culinary abilities. Maple syrup, of course, is the key ingredient that each teen chef needs to incorporate into their dishes. We invite the public to join us for a weekend full of great food, fun, learning and old fashioned New England traditions.”
Danielle Weinberg Barro will celebrate her 13th birthday on the competition day. She is from Scarsdale and attends Scarsdale Middle School. For many years, Danielle’s mom has taken her and her sister to the Teen Chefs’ Challenge. She has always admired the chefs and aspired to join the challenge as a chef as soon as she turned 13. “I am very excited to be one of the participants this year. I have been cooking and baking with my grandmother since I was very little. I am eager to be able to cook and bake by myself now that I am older.”
Ella Schweizer is 13 years old and is from Norwalk. She attends West Rocks Middle School. She is involved in drama at school and also at Crystal Theatre. Ella is a ballroom dancer who has a sister and two beloved cats. When she’s not cooking, she watches Netflix and listens to music. “I want to participate in this challenge because I love to cook. I love recipes and I love the little farm at SMNC.”
Maximus Galarza is 16 years old and a freshman at J.M. Wright Tech in Stamford. For the past 5 years, he has been interested in cooking, especially after smelling all the wonderful aromas coming from his mother’s kitchen. He enjoys experimenting with different recipes and flavors. Maximus has an older sister and two older brothers whom he admires very much. “I would like to participate in First County Bank’s Teen Chefs Challenge because cooking has been my passion since I was very little and I feel I can make a name for myself in the world of food.”
Quanyia Ariyan Hackney is 16 years old and is a freshman at J.M. Wright Tech in Stamford. “I want to participate in the First County Bank Teen Chefs Challenge because I want to learn something new. I am interested in meeting new people that also know how to cook or bake.”
Rio Fernandez is almost 14 years old, is from Bristol, and has been baking for three years. He is homeschooled and is on a travel baseball team with CT Edge. He volunteers once a week by making dessert for Meals for Neighbors, which serves up to 100 people every Monday through Thursday. Rio is a big fan of the Fortnite video game and his cute puppy Coco. “I want to participate in this challenge because it will make me a better baker and I love baking and competing. The experience will help me communicate better in social situations.”
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