Fillo dough is one of the most difficult of all ingredients chefs will work with during their careers, and yet the students from The Culinary School at Eva’s Village competing in the 3rd Annual Kontos Foods Culinary Challenge tackled the task with the aplomb of seasoned pros. Four teams faced off last month in the timed contest to create the best Sweet and the best Savory Dishes using Kontos Foods’ Fillo dough. Both Kontos Foods and Eva’s Village are located in Paterson, N.J. The jury evaluated each dish on a 5-point scale for the attributes of taste, creativity and presentation.
Sarah Gist and Lisa Britting walked away with the prize for the Best Savory dish, creating a Salmon Mousse set inside a delicate, dill-infused Fillo dough cup. Marisol Flores and Madeline Brignoni won in the Sweet category, with creatively arranged Apple Fillo Rose, made from sliced apples, with a cream cheese, feta and walnut filling, wrapped in Fillo dough. Each winning contestant was awarded a VISA gift card; more importantly, Kontos Foods will also present all participants with a professional, monogrammed chef coat upon graduation this December.
Kontos Foods is known for its flatbread and award-winning Fillo dough. Also known as ‘phyllo,’ the dough gets its name from the Greek word “leaf” for its paper-thin consistency. Kontos Foods sells it in sheets of varying thicknesses, from the thinnest #4 (perfect for hors d’oeuvres), #5, #7, on up to #10, which is the thickest variety, perfect for country-style pies such as strudel. Kontos Foods’ Kataifi Dough is sold as finely spun strands of Fillo, which bakes into golden strands. The students in this competition used
Last year 27 students from the Culinary School at Eva’s Village competed in the first Kontos Foods Culinary Challenge, creating dishes with Kontos International Pastry Puffs, also known as Loukoumades in Greek culture. Kontos Foods Corporate Executive Chef Demetrios Haralambatos and Chef James Cwynar, Culinary School Director at Eva’s Village, judged last year. This year David Bein, Eva’s Community Kitchen Director, joined Chef Demetrios, to judge the creations.
“Many seasoned chefs will not touch Fillo dough because they’re intimidated by its paper-thin consistency,” said Chef Haralambatos, who gave the students an “Introduction to Fillo Workshop” one week prior to the Culinary Challenge. “And I have to say, with one week’s experience, their dishes knocked my socks off!”
“For some of these students it was their first time working with Fillo,” added Daniela Zangara, Vocational Coordinator at The Culinary School at Eva’s Village. “But once they got over their fear, they worked with it all week, researching and experimenting to come up with creative, untraditional recipes.”
About Kontos Foods: Founded in 1987, Kontos Foods, Inc. is a Paterson, New Jersey-based provider of artisan breads and traditional Mediterranean foods for restaurants, hotels, food service, retail specialty stores and supermarkets worldwide. The family-owned company specializes in hand-stretched flatbreads, including the Kontos Pocket-Less Pita®, Fillo dough, pastries, olives, gyro meats, and Greek yogurts, as well as over 60 varieties of multi-ethnic flatbreads. Kontos Foods has over 275 employees and was founded by Evripides (Evris) Kontos and his son Steve, who together bring over 100 years’ experience in the premium food industry. The company’s bread and Fillo products are made in the USA. Visit kontos.com or call (973) 278-2800.