WELLSBORO - Tioga County's version of the Food Network's "Iron Chef" competition will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Parish, 38 Central Avenue.
Father John Kita, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Parish in Elkland, came up with the idea as a way to have all of the parishes in the cluster - that also includes Holy Child Parish in Mansfield - come together for fun and fellowship.
The fun and fellowship will take place as the two competitors, Kita and Holy Child parishioner Joe Welsh, are preparing their dishes with the help of their teams in the St. Peter's kitchen, there will be a "dish to pass" meal happening in the fellowship hall.
The cooking competition will be emceed by Ron Bianco, a local entertainer.
The two chefs have one hour with help from their teams to prepare one dinner and one dessert using a secret ingredient that was revealed at all the parrish's Masses Saturday and today.
Three judges, one from each church, will judge each meal on taste, originality, and plating design.
The winner is named Iron Chef of Tioga County, meaning the best chef in the county, Kita said.
The team for Iron Chef Elkland includes Kita, with sousa chefs Jean Serenoa and Mary Bocca.
The team for Iron Chef Mansfield includes Welsh with sousa chefs Doug Drexler and Ann Vayansky.
During the actual preparation of the food, Bianco will do a "play-by-play" of the preparations that will be broadcast in the fellowship hall on a donated 60 inch flat screen TV, Kita said.
The dishes will be judged by David Serenoa, of Elkland, Wendy Joachim, of Wellsboro, and Mary Ann Maresco, of Mansfield.
Kita said he took inspiration from Williamsport's Iron Chef competition each March to try the cooking competition as a way to bring the parishioners together.
"Bishop Martino put the Tioga County parishes into a partnership arrangement to do things together and share resources. We have a picnic each August, but that is the only time we come together to do anything other than to fundraiser," he said.
Kita said he loves to cook and always wanted to "play Iron Chef" so we decided to try it as a dish to pass and "see what happens."
He said the idea has "taken off like a rocket" amongst parishioners who are very excited about it because it is something "new and different."
Welsh, of Mansfield, said he enjoys cooking and "does reasonably well," at it.
He said he enjoys a diversity of dishes, but likes cooking "a lot of Asian and Italian dishes and now I'm trying to learn how to barbecue."
Welsh said when the request went out for volunteers no one was volunteering so he decided to step forward.
"It should be a lot of fun. We will all be jammed into St. Peter's kitchen trying not to kill each other," he joked.
Because St. Peter's is the host church, they don't have anyone competing in the event, Kita said.
The price of admission is a dish to pass, he said.
"I would like to see salads, desserts, all kinds of entrees, meat, fish and chicken. Bring the dish you cook best. There is no other charge to get in," he added.
Though it is not a fundraiser, Kita said any donations received will be split equally between the parishes.