Cooking competition raises money for local culinary program
The Madison Urban Ministry hosted its first cooking competition Saturday evening, based on the TV show "Chopped."
It was a fundraiser for the Just Bakery program, which helps formerly incarcerated people and the homeless get jobs in the cooking industry.
The competitors included Madison alders and police officers, who faced off against Just Bakery students and staff. The teams were judged to see who made the best appetizer, entree and dessert — using a set of mystery ingredients revealed just minutes before they started cooking.
Amanda Analla represented the Madison Police Department in the appetizer round. Analla has been with the department for 11 years.
"I wanted to get into policing because I wanted to help victims of crime," she said.
However, Analla was not being judged on her policing Sunday evening. Instead, she had to improvise an appetizer in just 30 minutes.
"I'm making a beet salad with a blood orange vinaigrette salad dressing and homemade croutons," Analla explained.
Analla faced off against Madison alders and Just Bakery students in the competition, but she said before the competition started that cooking is not her strong suit.
"I'm a little nervous about the cooking thing," Analla said. "Usually I just make something from a can."
However, Analla has supported Just Bakery and Madison Urban Ministry for years, and she jumped at the chance to get more involved.
"When people are being released from the prison system, I feel like people deserve second chances and they need help," Analla said.
For her, this was not really about the cooking. It is about giving back to an organization that supports a community.
"They give people a chance to believe in themselves because they have people that support them, and I want to be involved in something like that because that's how I feel," Analla said.
The Madison Urban Ministry said they hope to raise between $10,000 to $15,000 dollars tonight, and they hope to make this an annual event.