Throw on an apron and get out a wooden spoon, because local chefs are ready to judge your sauce.
Victoria Witczak of Cutchogue, 11, will host the first-ever Victoria’s NoFo Tomato Sauce Boss Contest on Thursday, Aug. 11, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. She’s inviting locals to bring a pot of their homemade red sauce to Jason’s Vineyard in Jamesport, where she’ll crown someone the “Sauce Boss.”
“I got the idea for this because I didn’t want to be having the same exact thing as everyone else, like having garage sales or a lemonade stand,” Victoria said. Her mother, Tonya, added that her daughter’s love of tomatoes also played a role in the decision.
The event will raise money for Katie’s Krops, a national nonprofit organization that awards grants to students for the purpose of planting gardens and donating the harvests to those in need, Victoria said.
Victoria, who recently completed fifth grade at Cutchogue East Elementary School, received a $300 grant from Katie’s Krops to plant a garden this past spring at Sang Lee Farms with the help of manager Lucy Senesac. The funds were used to create an irrigation system and purchase organic seeds and a tarp, among other necessities. Victoria began handing out vegetables last month and has since donated approximately 150 pounds of food.
Victoria said she has given away the produce — zucchini, squash, cucumbers, romaine and red leaf lettuce, and her personal favorite, patty pans — to Sandwich Sam, Long Island Harvest, Community Action Southold Town, Church of the Redeemer, Our Lady of Ostrabrama, Bethpage Assembly of God, and Southold Presbyterian Tuesday Night Soup Kitchen.
“I think it’s important to give back to people because they just can’t afford it,” she said. “They want it, but they can’t really have it.”
“It helps with their whole diet,” her mother added. “Living out here in farm country, we should be able to help spread the love.”
During the Aug. 11 fundraiser, participants will have the opportunity to taste fellow competitors’ sauces with dipping bread donated by Panera Bread. In order to keep the voting process fair, each entry will be labeled with a letter rather than the chef’s name. Sauces will be judged by local chefs, including those from Ammirati’s Love Lane in Mattituck and Lucharitos in Greenport.
Each contestant will be given a specially designed apron and both the people’s choice and chef’s winners will receive medals for their accomplishments. All participants will receive a gift bag and be entered in raffles and a 50/50. They will also have the opportunity to be photographed on a custom backdrop. The first 50 guests to arrive at the fundraiser will receive a free T-shirt.
Tonya Witczak said the event is made possible through numerous donations.
“Kait’s Angels, in memory of Kaitlyn Doorhy, are the platinum sponsors helping us to take the NoFo Sauce Boss to the next level,” she said.
With the community’s help, Victoria hopes to reach her fundraising goal this year and hold the contest for years to come.
“My goals are to get $1,000 to give to Katie’s Krops so they can produce more grants to more children in the U.S. and also to get the community together,” she said.
Tickets to the NoFo Tomato Sauce Boss Contest cost $8 a person or $25 for a family of four; competitors can enter for free. To register or purchase tickets, email [email protected].