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Contestants Chosen for YCC

Contestants Chosen for Youth Cooking Challenge Presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Seven local youths have been selected to compete in United Way’s Youth Cooking Challenge Presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
The seven contestants selected are:
12 year old, Andrew Broadbent, of Remsen;
11 year old, Salvatore Drivas, of Frankfort;
14 year old, Ryan Flynn, of Chadwicks;
12 year old, Carmella Garcia, of Sherrill;
10 year old, Elijah Jones, of Poland;
12 year old, Naomi Smith, of Utica;
13 year old, Brooklynne True, of Utica.
Each contestant will be teamed up with a local chef.  Local chefs participating are:
Chance Bear, The Ridge Tavern;
Brian Donovan, The Balanced Chef;
Tim Hardiman, The Tailor & the Cook/Utica Bread;
Michael Latreille, Michael’s Fine Food & Spirits/The Hamilton Inn;
Regina Piacentino, Bella Regina;
Victor Ramirez, The Madison Bistro;
Melinda Thomas, Baggs Square Café.
Each team will be professionally filmed preparing a “signature” dish.  The public will then be invited to vote for their favorite team using an online voting platform, which will be available at, beginning March 25th, 2019.
The two teams with the most votes will advance to a live finale “cook-off” event scheduled for Monday, April 15. This event will be held at Restaurant Equipment Equipment Corporation’s test kitchen located at 53 New Hartford Shopping Center, New Hartford.
All contestants will receive this year’s selected cookbook, the runner-up will receive a cooking-themed prize basket valued at $150, and the United Way Youth Cooking Challenge Presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield grand prize winner will receive a cooking-themed prize basket valued at $250, donated by Boscov’s.
This cooking challenge is a component of United Way’s health initiative with a focus on childhood obesity prevention. It will not only highlight the culinary abilities of the youth in our area but more importantly will demonstrate the benefits of healthy cooking and eating habits.  
A special thank you to Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, our health and wellness partner for this inaugural event.  This event is also made possible thanks to sponsors Oneida County BOCES Teachers Association, Townsquare Media, Restaurant Equipment Equipment Corp., Capitol Arts Complex, CNY Labor Council, Mohawk Valley Community College Professional Association, Utica First Insurance Company, and Hannaford Supermarkets.
For more visit, or follow along on Twitter @unitedwayutica, on Instagram @unitedwayvgu, and UnitedWayVGU on Facebook.