The 2020 Virtual Iron Skillet® Cook Off: The Line Up

ISCO Master Chef: Michael Ayoub- Chef & Owner

Chef Michael Ayoub will work with each Firefighter to take their dish up a notch at Fornino Pier 6 Brooklyn Bridge Park and brought to you via live stream aired on October 26th.

Michael is a Brooklyn native and chef for over 45 years. Michael, known for such renowned restaurants as Skaffles and Cucina, was destined to bring his wood-fired pizza concept to Brooklyn. Taken from his mother’s maiden name, Fornino or Little Oven, expresses Michael’s true calling, combining his love of pizza with his decades of culinary experience.​

The heat from the custom-built wood-burning ovens that reach temperatures of 900 Degrees was not hot enough for Michael. When not dreaming up culinary wonders, he takes his talents to even higher temperatures…as an accomplished glass artist.

Captain Joe Russo

World Cares Center is pleased to announce our 2020 Virtual Iron Skillet® Cook Off Ready Responder Lifetime of Leadership Awardee: Captain Joseph Russo!

Captain Russo has been imperative to the World Cares Center mission for over 10 years now, helping execute over a decade of successful Iron Skillet Cook Offs, as well as regularly advocating and promoting World Cares Center and our mission.

Captain Russo’s childhood best friend, Firefighter Joseph Henry, encouraged him to take the FDNY entrance exam in 1999. On September 11, 2001, Captain Russo lost a number of close family members and friends, including Firefighter Henry. The events of September 11th started Captain Russo on the path he is on today. After graduating from college in 2002, and following a short stint in investment banking, Captain Russo began serving the citizens of New York City as a member of FDNY.

In 2013, Captain Russo was promoted to Lieutenant, and was subsequently selected to work on curriculum for FDNY’s Terrorism Awareness Unit. In 2014, Captain Russo continued his education by attending the FDNY/West Point Counterterrorism Leadership Program, and then the Naval Postgraduate School, where he graduated in 2017. From 2015-2018, he worked at FDNY’s Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness as an Intelligence Officer.

Since 2019, Captain Russo has led a team on technological innovation for the FDNY. Most recently, in 2020, he was promoted to Captain, and was also selected as a Regional Finalist for a White House Fellowship. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Captain Russo has been a fierce advocate for firefighter safety and protective measures.

The work done by Captain Russo has been essential to the growth and success of World Cares Center. We are pleased to honor Captain Russo this year, and look forward to many more great years to come.

The Competition

Team

Bryan Anderson

Engine 247

Brooklyn

Lamb Chops with Creamy Mustard Sauce and Grilled Asparagus

Team

Barasch&McGarry Logo

Ron Venner

E-42 (Da OK Corral)

Bronx

Roast Chicken Thigh Risotto

Team

Jose Cruz

Engine 95, Ladder 36

Manhattan

Maple Soy Salmon over Asparagus

Team

Pete (Laz) Lazarcheck

Engine 291, Ladder 140 (Retired)

Queens

Stuffed Pork Roll-Ups with Madeira Cream Sauce

Team

Robert Coghlan

Ocean Hook & Ladder #1

Staten Island

Chimichurri Steak

The Team Champions

Kirstin Cole

Kirstin Cole

Master of Ceremonies

 

Kirstin Cole is a reporter and fill-in anchor for the PIX-11 Morning News. The eight-time Emmy Award Winner re-joined the station in 2011, having worked there during the original launch of the morning news in 2000 – 2001. She was the consumer investigative reporter and anchor at WCBS-TV for the 10 years in between. As an award-winning breaking news reporter, she has covered the attacks of 9-11, hurricanes in Florida and New York, Superstorm Sandy, floods and tornadoes, the crash of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island, and countless fires and blizzards. She passionately donates her time to charities benefiting NYPD families, children in foster care, people struggling with addiction, and volunteer first responders.

Shelli Sonstein

Shelli Sonstein

Bronx Team Champion

 

Born in Philadelphia, Shelli began her career with WMMR, and spent 13 years at WPLJ. She currently co-hosts the Jim Kerr Rock and Roll Morning show on Q104.3, America’s most listened-to rock station. Shelli has been an avid supporter of the first responder community. She was instrumental in the campaign to pass the Zadrogra bill, which became law in 2011, ten years after the terror attacks. The bill pays for the medical care of ailing 911 first responders.

Steve Barte

Steve Bartel

Queens

 

Steve Bartel, better known simply as Bartel, is a radio show host, Assistant Program Director and Music Director at 103.5 KTU, “ The Best of New York.”

Ben Aaron

Ben Aaron

Brooklyn

 

Ben Aaron is a featured reporter on the PIX11 Morning News. He joined the team as part of an expansion of the show in 2020 after a two-year run as co-host of the nationally syndicated Pickler & Ben with Kellie Pickler, for which he earned two Daytime Emmy Award nominations for “Best Host.” Previously he spent 10 years at New York Live, where his segments as a feature reporter and garnered four Emmy Awards.

Thomas Huff

Thomas Huff

Staten Island Team Champion

 

Former offensive guard of the Washington Redskins (1986-87), Thomas Huff, will be returning as a judge of the Iron Skillet® Cook Off. A graduate of Kean University in New Jersey, he is currently a business partner with BSB Construction and MAPEI Americas. He is a member of the NFL Alumni Association, and is a well-known NFL Players Association Guest Speaker (1986-2017). His days on the offensive line taught him that nothing can get in your way when victory hangs in the balance.

Mixologist

Davina Thomasula

 

Master Mixologist Davina Thomasula will be shaking up Tito’s Handmade Vodka signature Iron Skillet Cook Off cocktail unveiled on October 26th.

Davina Thomasula is a classically trained chef, awarding-winning mixologist, and creator of Forknplate.com.

National Anthem Singer

 Deonté L. Warren

Deonté L. Warren can currently be seen in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway where he is standby for Genie, Babkak and the Sultan. He is from Nashville, TN. Favorite credits include Tour: Dreamgirls and Sister Act. Regional: Shrek and Tarzan at Arizona Broadway Theatre, Hairspray at ACCC and many others. Bachelor of Music (Belmont University). When not in Aladdin Deonté can be found in concerts throughout the city. Deonté released is debut solo Album “Love, Essential (Live in New York)” January 2019 and is available everywhere music is sold.

Stay Tuned as the event builds and more information is added