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Kidsday and Jacques Pepin at a cooking contest

Kidsday reporters Gabi Borokhov, Revital Hemalian and Orali

Kidsday reporters Gabi Borokhov, Revital Hemalian and Orali Rofeim, all from the Long Island Hebrew Academy in Great Neck with chef Jacques Pepin at the fifth annual Manischewitz Cook-off at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan Photo Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

We went to the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan for the Fifth Annual Man-O-Manischewitz Cooking Contest.

When we got to the JCC, we were escorted into the test kitchen for a private tasting with famous chef and head judge of the contest Jacques Pepin.

We tried two of his kosher recipes made with Manischewitz products. We first tried mushroom soup; then, we had chicken with mushrooms and onions. They were delicious. We then got to interview Jacques and also got to meet Manischewitz co-chief executive Alain Bankier. We learned that Manischewitz has just introduced 35 new products to the kosher market.

Some of our favorites were the cotton candy and cupcake mixes that were kosher for Passover. We then had a chance to meet all five contest finalists. We watched as they prepared their original kosher recipes in front of several judges. Some of the judges were from epicurius.com, Weight Watchers Magazine and foodnetwork.com. There was also an author, Jamie Geller, who wrote a cookbook, “Quick and Kosher.” The finalists began cooking, and we were able to taste all of their recipes. Some of our favorites were the Moroccan chicken with rice and the chicken with shallots. We didn’t care for the fish stew or the sweet potato tangine.

It was exciting being part of the Manischewitz Cooking Contest. We all were hoping that finalist Naylet LaRochelle from Miami would win. We loved her dish, Moroccan Chicken Bowl. We wished all the contestants well.

We had to go before the contest was over, but one of the ladies from Manischewitz texted us and told us that the grand prize winner was Stuart Davis of Cherry Hill, N.J., who made the chicken and egg Donburi.

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