Stamford Teen Chefs Prep For Maple Syrup Cooking Battle

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Hunter Zampa, of Stamford, 13, is hoping to show off his cooking skills to the world and to one day become an Iron Chef.
Hunter Zampa, of Stamford, 13, is hoping to show off his cooking skills to the world and to one day become an Iron Chef. Photo Credit: Contributed
Marissa Young, of Stamford, is an eighth-grader at Rippowam Middle School.
Marissa Young, of Stamford, is an eighth-grader at Rippowam Middle School. Photo Credit: Contribtued
Hannah Bukzin, of Westport, is a freshman at Staples High School in Westport.
Hannah Bukzin, of Westport, is a freshman at Staples High School in Westport. Photo Credit: Contributed
Evan Cassidy, of Northford, is starting college at a young age due to home schooling.
Evan Cassidy, of Northford, is starting college at a young age due to home schooling. Photo Credit: Contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Westport and Stamford teens are set to compete in the First County Bank's Teen Chefs Challenge on Saturday, March 1. 

The four chefs will compete at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center for its Maple Sugar Festival Weekend. The teens are Hannah Buzkin of Westport, Evan Cassidy of Northford, Marissa Young of Stamford and Hunter Zampa of Stamford. The teens will compete to create the best tasting recipe, as judged by the public, using maple syrup as an ingredient.

This year marks the 14th anniversary First County Bank has sponsored this family festival highlighting the New England tradition of maple sugaring. The teens will present their creations for the public to sample. The public will vote for their favorite creation.

“The First County Bank Chefs Challenge has truly become a tradition since its inception in 2010 and a highlight during the Maple Sugar Festival Weekend,” said Karen Kelly, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at First County Bank. “This year we’re excited to switch it up a bit and invite a talented group of teen chefs to participate in the cooking challenge.

"Using maple syrup, they will prepare an eclectic mix of dishes for the public to taste and judge. It’s great to provide a venue to showcase local kids’ talents and help them further hone their skills. This is quite a unique event for our community. We appreciate their contribution and look forward to a weekend full of great food, fun, learning and old fashioned New England traditions.”

Hannah Bukzin is a freshman at Staples High School. She recently, she won the CTbites/Marica Selden "Chopped" style cook-off where she competed against two (adult) finalists. 

Evan Cassidy is starting college at a young age due to home schooling. Evan is beginning his second semester at Gateway Community College in New Haven, majoring in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management. 

Marissa Young is an eighth-grader at Rippowam Middle School. She began baking when she was about 3 years old. Her father, Dan, loves to bake and always has Marissa by his side in the kitchen, especially when baking cookies. 

Hunter Zampa is hoping to show off his cooking skills to the world and to one day become an Iron Chef. His lifelong dream is to become a chef and restaurateur.

A daily admission fee of $5 per person will be charged to museum members and non-members $10 per person. All children 3 and under, Family Plus and above members are allowed in free. Stamford Museum & Nature Center is located off High Ridge Road at 39 Scofieldtown Road. 

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