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RSOM Dietetic Interns Battle it Out in ‘Chopped’ Competition

Dietetic chopped 24
Dietetic chopped 24
First-place winners Grace Daly ‘24 and Kristina Maggiacomo ‘24.

The Dietetic Interns from the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University teamed up with culinary experts from Stony Brook Medicine’s Distinguished Dining Services to showcase the skills they learned throughout the year in a cooking competition. Together, they ignited the kitchen with creativity and passion, embarking on a quest to develop new menu items and become a Chopped champion. 

Modeled after the Food Network show Chopped, the students attempted to incorporate an unusual combination of ingredients into dishes that were then evaluated by a panel of five judges. The interns were divided up into teams and asked to make a tapas-style plate of their recipe using ingredients from their mystery baskets. Some of the unusual ingredients included gochujang (red chili paste), figs, tapioca flour, venison, coffee and purple basil. 

With support from Stony Brook University Hospital chef and production manager Eric Veilleux, each team was given ten minutes to plan and an hour to prepare and plate their meal. This engaging team-building activity gave the dietetic interns a chance to compete and earn the most points to emerge as champions. “Overall, our blueberry crumb cake was a success. The basil challenged us but we were able to incorporate it into multiple parts of our dish. Coffee was a great ingredient included in our basket which enhanced our flavor profile. We used a recipe online for the framework but took creative liberties throughout the process,” stated Kristina Maggiacomo ‘24, dietetic intern/graduate student.

Lorraine Danowski, director of the Dietetic Internship, has partnered with the culinary team for more than a decade to host the competition in the hospital kitchen. Danowski explained “I developed this competition as a fun way for students to develop culinary skills, be creative, and work together on an activity outside the classroom. During review week, we prepare for the registration exam and I wanted our students to take a break in a friendly rivalry with their classmates.” This group of students is the 26th graduating dietetic internship class and the 12th class to participate in a Chopped-style competition. 

The dietetic interns gathered their fresh ingredients and measured, chopped, mixed, and whisked up their creations to awe the judges! Judges critiqued the food based on taste, creativity, presentation and utilization of ingredients. Assistant director of Food and Retail Services and registered dietitian Kathleen Logsdon Carrozza served as a judge and said, “I look forward to this competition each year! Although the pressure was on, these students really exceeded my expectations. They used the knowledge and culinary skills that they learned throughout the year and successfully incorporated the mystery ingredients. All of their dishes were creative and tasty, it was tough to pick a winner.”

Other judges included Stony Brook University Hospital Executive Chef Jim Kellenberger, Stony Brook University Hospital Production Supervisor Paul Pennstrom, Family & Community Medicine Division Head Howard R. Sussman, MD, and Family & Preventive Medicine Clinical Practice Manager Elizabeth Seaman.

Winning Teams

All of the interns used their time wisely and created delicious meals to impress the judges with their culinary skills. Accolades were given to three teams this year who won the competition.

  • First Place – Grace Daly ‘24 and Kristina Maggiacomo ‘24 from the team “Two Hot to Handle” made a blueberry crumble coffee cake. 
  • Second Place – Tonianne Rizzuto ‘24, Elka Perez ‘24, and Katherine Bacon ‘24 from “Team Culinary Comrades” made gochujang marinated venison with asparagus and Asian-inspired fingerling potatoes.
  • Third Place – Jacqueline Ehrlich ‘24 and Danielle Pesavento ‘24 from team “Sweet & Sour” made a tofu stir-fry.


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