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Milkowski Family Wins David Burke Cooking Competition

Just like a reality tv cooking show, contestants battled it out a basket of secret ingredients.

Local foodies, take note. There are a handful of local kids who may soon have a few more restaurants to add to your Michelin rated favorites.

Fresh, Casa Milkowski Vita or Frank’s Fresh Italian Kitchen won't be in this year's ratings, but that's only because their chefs aren't yet allowed to use the oven when no one is home.

Tucker and Madeleine Reinhard, Helena Stoever, Francesca DiMisa and Jake and Lyla Milkowski created these restaurant names for a family cooking competition hosted by Chef David Burke his Rumson restaurant on Friday.  

The contest itself was also a prize. The Milkowski, Reinhard and Stoever families bid the live auction item at annual gala fundraiser, which David Burke Fromagerie catered. Monies raised by this auction item support Rumson Country Day School’s athletic, art, music and technology enrichment programs.

“We wanted to do something different than auctioning a dinner for the parents and this was a great way to give kids a fun, hands-on experience and a flavor of what happens on reality TV food shows,” Burke said.  “The judges were very impressed by the level of confidence and the caliber of their cooking skills.  We had great fun and good food.”

The competition, which included a mystery basket of ingredients, had five simple rules: each team, comprised of two students, ages 8 to 11 and a parent, had to name their restaurant, select five ingredients from the basket to prepare a main course and dessert in one hour and price each dish for three judges: Chef David Burke, former Fromagerie Owner and Chef Hubert Peter and Star-Ledger Restaurant Critic Teresa Politano. David Burke Fromagerie Executive Chef Phil Deffina and Pastry Chef Stuart Marx also helped each team with coaching.

Just like television food competitions, the students for each team confidently explained each dish, while the judging panel critiqued them on plate presentation, garnish and ingredient use and price, followed by a food tasting. The judges huddled for some time comparing their copious notes before declaring a winner:  Jake and Lyla Milkowski of Casa Milkowski Vita. 

The Milkowskis received first prize for their salmon and clam dish served over pasta with asparagus and a simple presentation of vanilla and raspberry gelato with chocolate and raspberry sauce, served with ginger snap cookies. 

Team Reinhard (Restaurant Fresh) and Team Stoever (Frank’s Fresh Italian Kitchen) tied for second place.  Each child received an apron and David Burke products including Cheesecake Pops, a signed cookbook, steaksauce and t-shirt. 

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