The Food Bank of South Jersey hosts annual “Hunger Games”

Corporate teams cook and compete to support FBSJ’s child hunger relief programs.

Photo Courtesy of The Food Bank of South Jersey: The 2018 Food Bank Hunger Games winning team, HT Dinner Divas with their mentor chef, Tracy Bray of Wegmans.

See what’s cooking at the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) as they host their annual Food Bank Hunger Games on Wednesday, April 24 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at their Pennsauken headquarters. The event – an entertaining cooking competition and live show – benefits FBSJ’s children’s programs, which work to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry by providing meals and snacks to needy children on weekends, after school and during the summer months.

The creative competition blends elements from the popular Food Network TV show “Chopped” as well as “The Hunger Games” book and film franchise by challenging teams to create a healthy meal in 45 minutes or less utilizing a box of food items that FBSJ typically distributes through its pantry network.

Hosted by FOX 29 reporter Bill Anderson, the event will showcase the competitive cooking skills of 15 four-person corporate teams sponsored by South Jersey organizations, including: Federal Rent-A-Fence, HBK CPAs and Consultants, DeVal Lifecycle Support, Jefferson Health, Subaru, Holman Enterprises, CareOne, M&T Bank, Forman Mills, Capehart Scatchard, Wells Fargo and Virtua. Returning this year is event sponsor Canada Dry and Snapple.

“Each year this competition highlights what so many parents, grandparents, seniors and families struggle with when they try to put a wholesome meal on the table,” said Fred Wasiak, President and CEO, Food Bank of South Jersey. “Our teams get a firsthand look at how difficult it is to create a healthy meal with limited resources. They learn quickly that they need the support of the audience to purchase additional ingredients that can make their dish stand out. The Food Bank Hunger Games is one of our most anticipated events of the year due to the exciting atmosphere that it creates.”

Teams are judged by a panel of four culinary experts and media personalities including Tammy Paolino, journalist and food blogger for the Courier Post; Tony Luke Jr., entrepreneur, restaurateur and founder of Tony Luke’s; Chef Milly, recognized as one of the top chefs in the Philadelphia and two-time “Hell’s Kitchen” contestant; and Marilyn Johnson, founder and food blogger for Philly Grub. The judges make their selections based on taste, presentation and use of the provided ingredients. Culinary advisors from various local businesses and restaurants including Wegmans, Seasons 52, The Canteen, Campbell’s Soup,
Cooper University Hospital, In the Kitchen Cooking School, NY & Dad’s Quick Eats, Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar and Hash House A Go will mentor each team.

A dessert tasting and secondary competition, the “Best of the Bite Sized” event, will give a sweet finish to the evening. The contest showcases delicious treats made by local bakeries and restaurants including Dulce Artisanal Pastry, Seasons 52, Chloe’s Crème Puffs, Shake Shack and Mademoiselle Macaron.

“We’re thrilled to once again be the event sponsor and compete in this amazing event,” stated Canada Dry Delaware Valley Executive Vice President John Taglienti. “This special event really drives home the issue of hunger in South Jersey and we are proud to give back to our local community while engaging a fun team-building competition.”

The Food Bank Hunger Games will also feature the Canada Dry Happy Hour Lounge, complete with music, local food, beer provide by Double Nickel Brewery and local wine from Cedar Rose Vineyards, White Horse Winery, Villari Vineyards and Plagido’s Winery.

Those interested in attending the Food Bank Hunger Games can purchase tickets and find more information at  General admission is $10 ($15 at the door).