Local chefs compete to turn ‘ugly’ produce into gourmet meals


The Manna Food Center puts local chefs to the test in Montgomery County for their very first cooking competition.

The competition may remind some of a reality cooking show where chefs are challenged to make their best dishes in limited amount of time.

“We wanted to do something fun and ending hunger also involved the whole community like chefs and restaurants’” said Jackie Decarlo, Manna Food Center chief executive officer.

Two teams of professional chef’s were challenged to turn ugly produce like Brussels Sprout leaves and unsellable apples into tasty meals.

“I think it’s a great because I think one mans garbage can be another mans gold” said Lenny Robinson, Hen Quarter chef and contestant.

The goal of the event was to build awareness of the fact that you can feed more people by wasting less food. Right now more than 63,000 Montgomery County residents struggle with food insecurity.

“It really just came down to some finer points for the winner so it was a really tough decision but I’m full and I’m glad to participate” said Senator Will Smith, MD (D).

The winner of the competition was chef Lenny Robinson. Many were surprised at how quickly the chefs turned ‘ugly’ vegetables into such delicious meals. Manna is now doing a Thanksgiving food drive at all Giant Food stores in the county.

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