Aspiring chef Danny Insogna of Southold came back with a vengeance at this year’s Long Island High School Culinary Competition Tuesday afternoon — taking first place and a $4,000 Sysco sponsored scholarship to Suffolk County Community College’s culinary arts program.
Mr. Insogna, 18, who was also a competitor in last year’s competition, is a student at H.B. Ward Technical Center in Riverhead, and won with his dish of pan-roasted chicken with a mushroom cream sauce, sautéed vegetables and zucchini, and a sweet potato puree.
The contest took place at Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center in Riverhead.
Similar to the Food Network’s cooking competition show “Chopped,” the students were given a mystery basket full of ingredients — and 90 minutes to turn them into a delectable dish.
College instructors kept a watchful eye on the students from start to finish, judging them on cooking techniques, use of ingredients, cleanliness, presentation, taste and creativity. The secret ingredients: a bone –in chicken, sweet potatoes, green squash and sundried tomatoes.
Aspiring chefs from 13 high schools throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties competed in the competition, while local culinary experts Jerry Dicecco, chef and owner of Jerry and the Mermaid Restaurant and Sean Fountaine, executive chef for Atlantis and the Hyatt Hotel, both of Riverhead, helped judge the competition.