‘Chopped at the Library’ returns for second year

‘Chopped at the Library’ returns for second year

CUMBERLAND – The Cumberland Public Library will host the second-annual “Chopped at the Library” event on Monday, Nov. 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event is inspired by the Food Network’s reality-based TV cooking show “Chopped,” which has aired since 2009.

The event will host three local talents as the contestants. Jason “Jay” LaScola from J Gray’s and Bruce Hyman from Dave’s Marketplace will return as contestants, as they did last year. The third contestant will remain a surprise until the night of the event, said Melissa Chiavaroli, the reference services coordinator at the library. The contestants will compete for the $100 grand prize.

The contestants will have 30 minutes for each round, with commentary from the judges and elimination in between each round, said library director Celeste Dyer. The television show has an appetizer, an entree and a dessert round. However, for the sake of time, space and equipment, this event will have an appetizer and an entree round, leaving out the dessert round, Dyer said.

“We don’t have three kitchens,” she said. “It’s not like the TV show. You’re cooking on two burners and borrowed equipment and stuff we happen to have to make a pantry.”

Library staff will provide contestants with the necessary equipment and groceries, Dyer said. Just like in the show, the contestants have mystery baskets of food that they receive as the ingredients they can use each round, Chiavaroli said.

The library staff try to host a variety of culinary events throughout the year, Chiavaroli said. On Tuesday, the library hosted an international tea tasting event, and it recently offered a cake decorating workshop series, she said.

“Our patrons love food events,” Chiavaroli said. “We try to do cooking and food events all year long because it’s something that we know the people of Cumberland enjoy. … It’s a great way to showcase local talent and get people involved. Every dish has a story, so it’s a great way to get people talking to one another.”

Dyer said the library staff is better prepared for the event this year than they were last year. Many people from the community showed up for last year’s event, and she said she is looking forward to this year’s event.

“We had maybe 50-60 people in the audience (last year),” Dyer said. “They all seemed to have a really good time, even though they were just watching people cook and they couldn’t eat any of it. A couple of people stopped me the next day and said, ‘That was so much fun last night!’ ”

Seating is free, but limited. Everyone is welcome. Registration for the event is available at the library or online at www.cumberlandlibrary.org .