Stroudsburg, PA

Mac and Cheese -Mac and Cheese - Mac and Cheese

Paul Adam Smeltz

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The Pocono Arts Council’s Annual Mac and Cheese Bake-off for 2022 took place at the Renegade Winery in Stroudsburg, PA on Sunday April 10th.Photo by Paparazzi Paul

The power of cheese permeated throughout the town of Stroudsburg, PA as The Pocono Arts Council held their Annual Mac and Cheese Bake-off at The Renegade Winery on Sunday April 10th. Multitudes who love the comfort food filled the venue to near capacity while professional and amature chefs set up their trays and burners in order to share their unique recipes with the mouth watered diners. The crowd eventually spied the welcomed sight that they almost patiently awaited of Jessica Delfino whose morning show on Pocono 96.7 FM titled, “The Mom Report” took the stage to greet them and begin the feast as she sang a song dedicated to Mac and Cheese that she composed.

Each person who stood in line took a plate and utensils before moving from chef to chef who placed their Macaroni and Cheese sampling upon the dish. The restaurants who participated in the event were The Happy Hour Bar and Grill, The Siamsa Irish Pub, The Stroudsmoor Country Inn, La Morena BBQ, SquareFare, The Gem and Keystone alongside some amateur chefs Sandra Muller-White, Ben Schack, Meg D’Agostino and Alex Pulschen. Each sample had either a number or letter that corresponded to the chef whose delicious offering was contained within.

The band known as “Lonesome Found” played a number of songs that were enhanced by their exquisite interpretations that inspired many listeners to move their lips to the lyrics they remembered. This made the process of gathering the food and returning to their seats a joy to perform. Tastings were mingled with discussions that aided in the comparisons of each recipe were shared with friends and with strangers who later became friends. A panel of judges were in place to help determine the winners of the competition. They were Stroudsburg Mayor Tarah Probst, Reporter/host of the Pocono TV Network and The Pocono Mountains Magazine Brianna Strunk, and Jack Swersie. Meanwhile, Raffle and 50/50 tickets were sold throughout the event by Jodi Singer of the Origins Gallery.

It was after much munching, singing, ticket purchases, and deliberations that the time came to announce the winners of the Annual Mac and Cheese Bake-off. Insights to the judging process were shared by the judges and words of appreciation were expressed by the Executive Director, Susan Randell, to the chefs who participated, the volunteers who helped organize the event, the judges, and those who came to the event. The winners in the Professionals Division were Chef Chris of the Siamsa Irish Pub who received the award for 2nd place and Chef Travis of the Happy Hour Bar and Grill who received the award for 1st place. The winners in the Amature Division were Meg D’Agostino who received the award for 3rd Place, Alex Pulschen who received the award for 2nd place and Sandra Muller-White who received the award for 1st place. The afternoon ended with the declarations of the winners of the 50/50 Raffle whose total amount came to $800 providing both the ticket holder and to Pocono Arts Council with $400 each and some additional items were awarded to a number of ticket holders who did not win the 50/50 award.

The Pocono Arts Council’s Annual Mac and Cheese Bake-off for 2022 was very well attended and a lot of fun. The event was on hiatus for 2020 and 2021 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic which made this year’s event a very special one that many saw as a reunion of sorts. Sponsors for the event were Lamar Advertising, Pocono 96.7 FM, Weis Markets, The Stone Lake Winery, The Renegade Winery, and The Charcuterie on Main. The Pocono Arts Council’s next Mac and Cheese Bake-off hasn’t been scheduled but it’ll most likely take place in the Spring of 2023.

In the meantime, The Pocono Arts Council is presenting their Nature Exhibition at the Brodhead Creek Heritage Association in Stroudsburg, PA until April 29th and their Under 40 Exhibition at their Community Arts Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA until May 3rd. The Pocono Arts Council is seeking submissions from Junior and Senior High School students from the Monroe County Area School Districts for the 2022 Children’s Roundtable Community Night: In This Together event to be held at The Northampton Community College (Monroe Campus) in Tannersville, PA on Tuesday May 3rd. The deadline for submissions is April 29th. Also, The Pocono Arts Council is seeking submissions for their upcoming Annual Members’ Exhibition which will be held at their Community Arts Gallery located at 727 Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA. The Artists’ Reception will take place Saturday May 7th which will include an awards presentation and the exhibition will continue to be on display until May 31st. The drop off date is May 3rd from 1 to 5pm.

The Pocono Arts Council was founded in 1975 as the Monroe County Arts Council and is the oldest and most established local arts service organization in the Pocono region of northeastern Pennsylvania. It serves artists and arts organizations in all disciplines as well as the resident and tourist populations of the area. The Pocono Arts Council’s Community Arts Gallery is located at 727 Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA. The venue’s Myra Kyle Gallery I and Myra Kyle II Galleries are available to rent. For More Information about The Pocono Arts Council, all they offer to the community, and how to join, please explore their website at www.poconoarts.org.

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Paul Adam Smeltz began his semi professional writing career as columnist writing art and social commentary for The East Stroudsburg University of PA Student Newspaper titled, "The Stroud Courier."

Stroudsburg, PA
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