Cast Iron Chef competitor cutting meat


Local Law Enforcement Gets Cooking

September 15, 2023

On September 13, a symphony of scents filled the air at NYIT de Seversky Mansion as local law enforcement competed in the ninth annual Cast Iron Chef cooking competition, hosted in appreciation for the police departments who serve New York Tech’s Long Island and New York City campuses. This year’s competition is the first since 2019, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

First responders from the New York City, Old Westbury, and Nassau County police departments showed off their culinary prowess, whipping up appetizing meals for the event modeled after popular television shows Chopped and Iron Chef. College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) student Maria Chimarios, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Daniel Quigley, Ph.D., and Dean of NYITCOM Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., formed the New York Tech team and competed on behalf of the Brookville Police Department, which could not attend this year.

The four teams were each challenged with creating a dish using specific ingredients as determined by spinning three different wheels that listed ingredients. One member from each team spun the wheel to discover what ingredients they would cook with.


From left: Dean of NYITCOM Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., NYITCOM student Maria Chimarios, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Daniel Quigley, Ph.D., stepped in for the Brookville Police Department.

The Nassau County team had to use evaporated milk, papaya, and whole lobster. Old Westbury was challenged to include harissa, kohlrabi, and whole rabbit. For the New York City team, it was limoncello, radish, and partridge. And New York Tech was challenged with coconut milk, red yams, and whole branzino. Basic ingredients were also available for use.

Emceeing the night was winemaker Roman Roth of Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, N.Y. Roth is the vineyard’s first winemaker and was honored in 2003 as the East End Food and Wine Awards’ Winemaker of the Year, as judged by the American Sommelier Society. 

“I’m happy to come here to support our local police departments,” said Roth as he greeted the crowd and offered his best advice for the competing teams. “Always treat the saltshaker like a loaded gun—you don’t want the saltshaker to go off!”

After opening remarks from Roth and Robert Rizzuto, director of dining services at NYIT de Seversky Mansion, guests were treated to a bagpipe performance from the Nassau County Police Emerald Society and an aerial flyover by a Nassau County Police Department helicopter. Teams then took to their stations and got to cooking for the 30-minute challenge period.

The teams’ meal creations were judged by Vice President of Equity and Inclusion and Chief Medical Officer Brian Harper, M.D., M.P.H., Manager of Development, Alumni Relations, and External Affairs Nicole Klein, NYITCOM student Moontahinaz Rob, and Matthew Gatto, executive chef of Maggiano’s in Garden City, N.Y.


President Hank Foley presents a check to the Nassau County Police Department, which won first place in this year’s Cast Iron Chef Cooking Competition. NYIT de Seversky Mansion will donate $2,000 to the department’s chosen charity, the Nassau County Police Superior Officers Association Charitable Foundation.

Judging criteria included teamwork, food handling, timing, ingredient usage, presentation, creativity, and, of course, flavor, to give teams a score out of 100. In the end, it was the Nassau County Police Department that snagged a first-place win with their lobster dish.

Every team walked away a winner, though, as NYIT de Seversky Mansion made a $2,000 donation to each team’s charity of choice. The New York City Police Department selected the Caitlin Rose McDonald Memorial Fund, the Old Westbury Police Department chose the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, the Brookville Police Department picked The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network), and the Nassau County Police Department decided on their own nonprofit, the Nassau County Police Superior Officers Association Charitable Foundation.