But recently, he faced one of his biggest challenges yet when he visited The Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, New Jersey. There he prepared a healthy mac and cheese dish and discussed the importance of healthy eating for one of the youngest, discerning groups yet—a gathering of about 35 school children between the ages of seven and nine.
Their expectations were quite high. After all, some of their generation just served as a panel of judges in Destination Hotels & Resorts’ 2011 Healthy Kids Recipe Contest. And two of them, a brother and sister, are the children of a parent who just won that contest for her multigrain mac and cheese recipe. Clearly, this wasn’t kids stuff for chef Hettinger.
Chef Hettinger’s appearance was the culmination of this year’s Healthy Kids Recipe Contest that was won by Lorin Cook. Ms. Cook’s mac and cheese was one of three that made the final round of judging held at the Inverness Hotel in Denver, Colorado. The chefs prepared the finalists’ recipes in the hotel’s test kitchen where a panel of kids, acting as judges along with some of the Destination chefs, tasted them and decided which was the best. The youngsters also learned how to prepare the healthy recipes. Ms. Cook’s entry was one of 75 recipes that had submitted to the contest.
Ms. Cook is the mother of four including Teri, 9 and Jacob, 7 who were part of a group of kids who were treated to the cooking demo. Tarrytown House Estate was selected to make the presentation because it is the closest Destination Hotels & Resorts destination to Elisabeth Morrow. Tarrytown House provided all the cooking utensils, equipment and food products.
In addition to the cooking demo, Chef Hettinger discussed the health benefits associated with the ingredients and cooking methods used. The food item he prepared did not use tree nuts, nut oils, pears, kiwis or apples due to allergies of certain children.
Richard Porteus, Tarrytown House and Estate Director of Food & Beverage, said: “We are fortunate that the winner of this year’s Healthy Kids Recipe Contest lives in close proximity to our hotel. It gave us the opportunity to support the Destination Hotels and Resorts’ mission of promoting healthy eating at an early age in a very meaningful way.”
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Hettinger began his career with the Tarrytown House Estate in 1997 as a breakfast cook and worked his way up through the ranks to executive sous chef. His cooking style is described as American Regional with international nuances. He relies on Hudson Valley meats, fish and produce for his culinary creations.
He is also executive chef of Tarrytown House Estate’s restaurant, Cellar 49, located in the lower level of the Biddle Mansion, which was originally the home to Mary Duke Biddle's bowling alley. The centerpiece of the restaurant is a private dining room set right within the wine cellar itself.
Located just 25 miles from midtown Manhattan, the Tarrytown House Estate offers a spectacular Lower Hudson Valley lodging and meeting facility that blends historical charm with modern conveniences. Set on 26 acres overlooking the Hudson River Valley, the Tarrytown House features impressive 19th-Century mansions, as well as a contemporary atrium-style building that houses conference facilities and guest rooms. Perfect for business and leisure, the Tarrytown House offers extensive leisure and recreational facilities such as a fitness club, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and tennis courts. For more information, please contact the Tarrytown House at 1-800-553-8118 or check their Website at www.tarrytownhouseestate.com.
Photo caption: Tarrytown House Executive Chef Chris Hettinger, left, is joined by his two sous chefs— Terri Cook, 9; her brother, Jacob Cook, 7— and their mother, Lorin Cook (rear middle) and Jane Phend, principal of Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood. Chef Hettinger did a cooking demo of a healthy mac and cheese dish and spoke about the importance of healthy eating. His appearance before a group of 35 students was the culmination of Destination Hotels & Resorts’ 2011 Healthy Kids Recipe Contest which was won by Mrs. Cook for her mac and cheese recipe. A reward for winning was having the executive chef of the nearest Destination Hotels and Resorts make the presentation at the school.