Middlebrook food contest celebrates international cuisine

For the more than 30 years, Middlebrook School has celebrated foods from around the world during its annual International Food Contest, and this year will be no different.

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, student-made appetizers, entrées and desserts will fill the middle school’s cafeteria to be tasted and judged.

“This is a great Middlebrook tradition and it is one event that everyone looks forward to every year,” said eighth grade world language teacher Simon Bulenzi.

The International Food Contest is just one event during Middlebrook’s World Language Week, Feb. 23-27, that celebrates cultures and traditions from around the world.

“The world language department puts this event together with the help of the whole staff,” said Mr. Bulenzi. “We work very well together and the biggest challenge is to decide what the best dishes are. We always get some wonderful food.”

While some of the most commonly entered foods include Chinese fried rice, flan, empanadas, biscotti, crepes, and tiramisu, said Mr. Bulenzi, last year’s winning dishes included paneer kebabs, chicken tikka masala and an Italian cake.

The competition is open to all Middlebrook students and they can work on a dish with another student, said Mr. Bulenzi.

To participate, students must fill out an entry form, have it signed by their parents and submit it — along with a copy of the recipe they will use — by Tuesday, Feb. 17.

“Usually, every kid who submits a form can participate,” said Mr. Bulenzi, “but if we have too many entries in one category, we do a lottery and offer to move students to a different category.”

Mr. Bulenzi said 103 students participated in last year’s competition and 23 staff members judged the food. This year, he said, “we are expecting at least 100 students and 40 staff members.”

The judges will determine the winning dishes based on appearance, flavor and consistency or texture.

“There will be up to three winners per category. The number of winners is determined by the number of dishes for each category,” said Mr. Bulenzi. “We will know how many winners we can have per category on Feb. 17.”

Winners of this year’s contest will receive gift certificates to Peachwave, according to Mr. Bulenzi, who said the best part about the annual event is seeing “the students’ enthusiasm for being part of such an international experience.”

On the day of the contest, participants must check in at 2:50. Judging will begin around 3:15.

Since there is no snow date for the event, the contest will not take place if there is an early dismissal or school cancellation on Feb. 25.

Click here to download this year’s International Food Contest form.