Truck drivers are better cooks than Riverhead Town Board members

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Town Board members Jim Wooten and Jodi Giglio prepare a meal Thursday.

Who would win in a cook-off: politicians or truck drivers? Supporters hoping to build a new animal shelter for Riverhead town found out at a fundraiser Thursday night.

Town Councilman Jim Wooten and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio faced off against truck drivers Gregory Springer and Robert Pekar Thursday night to raise money for “Move the Animal Shelter,” an animal advocacy group founded last year that has raised more than $30,000 to build a new shelter and dog parks for Riverhead residents.

The fundraiser, held at Hy Ting Restaurant on West Main Street, drew more than 50 supporters, who sampled the cook’s dishes and voted for a winner.

Mr. Wooten and Ms. Giglio cooked a fried chicken brochette served with balsamic glaze, which they called “Politician Chicken,” while the two truck drivers served “Asian short rib” topped with wasabi mayo and cole slaw with peanut dressing. By the end of the night, it was barely a contest, with the truck drivers winning in a landslide victory.

Ms. Giglio said moving the animal shelter may help move negotiations forward with the non-profit advocacy group North Fork Animal Welfare League to privatize the shelter, a discussion that has reportedly stalled over contract negotiations. The town would also be able to find a “better use” for the Youngs Avenue property where the shelter currently sits.

MTAS founder Denise Lucas said she was happy with the turnout and said a donor at the event offered to fund a $650 flagpole at the planned dog park in Calverton.

“For a weekday event, it’s good,” she said. “Everybody seems to be in support of [the cause].”

Ms. Lucas said the town dog park at Calverton will be open by April 28, adding that the other two planned parks at Stotzky Park and Jamesport should open in May and June, respectively.

[email protected]