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Chopped Champ Returns To Roots

Marc Anthony Bynum was able to make a prize-winning dish out of the ingredients in the “mystery basket”—matzah, salty peanuts, dried strawberries, and cocoa nibs—to win the Food Network's TV show Chopped in June 2010. Two months later, he returned to the show for a second time, where he excelled through the appetizer round with a combination of dandelion greens, Greek yogurt, liverwurst and catfish, which allowed him to move forward through the entrée and dessert rounds to win. But it was the combination of geoduck, Buddha’s hand, black radishes and waffle cones that did him in when he appeared in the grand finale of the Chopped Tournament in September that year. 

 

This was okay with the 35-year-old Farmingdale native. “You learn more in defeat than victory,” he said as his appearance on Chopped moved him forward in his goal to invoke change and help people. He sees himself as a “food missionary” and the new restaurant he’ll be opening soon on Main St. in Farmingdale can be a way to put forth his values. “I love the town,” he said. 

 

Having his restaurant in Farmingdale means he can have access to all the schools he attended, including BOCES where he received his formal culinary training. He likes to mentor kids and wants to serve as an inspiration. 

 

For Bynum, being a chef appears to be the perfect career. He said that if he had a desk job, he’d fall asleep. Cooking is not a just a job, he says. “When I work for 18 to 36 hours, it feels like a minute.”

 

His love of cooking started with the homey, Southern-style cooking of his mother Arnetta Williams. Favorite dishes were collard greens, black-eyed peas and rice, sweet potato pie and spinach pie. There were seven in the house—Bynum being the middle child of five

—and there was always dinner at the table. “The love has carried over,” he said, “You can always feel the love in the dish.” 

 

He is passing that appreciation on to his family, where his three year old has expressed an interest in cooking. Bynum has worked at the Melville Marriott, the Vanderbilt in Plainview, Four Food Studios, Prime, Tellers and Venue 56. He has a consulting business helping start up or troubled restaurants. “They’re successful when they listen to me,” he said. His hot sauce, called Sette—which means seven in Italian because it has seven different peppers—is shipped throughout the country. And then there’s his charity work. He is heavily involved in the American Heart Association and Power to End Stroke as a national ambassador, and he recently became a leader in helping young adults combat obesity through PreventObesity.net.

 

Bynum is spending much of his effort now getting his own restaurant in shape by the end of May. He said that after 7 to 8 years of looking for a spot to open up along Farmingdale’s Main Street, he will finally get his chance. On April 7, Bynum received a permit from the village Board of Trustees, to officially get to work on setting up his 27-seat restaurant, called Hush—an appropriate name for a restauranteur who says the food speaks to him. “It’s a polite way to say ‘shut up,’” said Bynum. “I listen to what the food is saying.”

 

Local, sustainable and organic are concepts he embraces. “I’m big on Long Island with our wines, cheese and farms and want to make sure it stays local,” he said. Even the décor and furniture in the restaurant is Long Island-based; 75 percent of the wood is

reclaimed wood from Hurricane Sandy. The tabletops are repurposed old Singer sewing machine consoles. 

 

He likes to categorize his cuisine as “great food, executed perfectly.” He’s going for New American cuisine but is not limited to that. His burger and ribs will always be on the menu but the dinner choices will change regularly based on the market.  

 

For the moment, Bynum has had enough of food competitions—although trying for Top Chef sometime in the future is on his agenda, and perhaps, buying a farm so he can have control over the farm-to-table aspects of his work. 

 

In case you were left wondering what Bynum had concocted with his Chopped mystery baskets, he made a matah Napoleon with strawberry mousse. With the dandelion greens, liverwurst and catfish he did a play on the traditional “Surf and Turf,” which he called

“Liver and River.” It featured pan roasted catfish with dandelion greens and yogurt sauce. About his mystery dish, he says, “I honestly don’t remember. This is the round I lost and I really blacked it out.”

News

Bring your four-legged friends—in costume if they’d like—to roam Old Westbury Gardens during ‘Dog Days.’ Twice a year canines are welcome to accompany their (leashed) humans around the grounds of the mansion, and this is Fido’s last shot until spring. On Sunday, enjoy exhibits from rescue groups and animal welfare organizations from 1 to 4 p.m. A dog costume contest and parade takes place at 3 p.m. All activities included with admission: $8, $5 for seniors and $3 for children ages 7 to 17. At 71 Old Westbury Rd., Westbury, Saturday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tel: 516-333-0048.


Mentorship is one of those goals rotary clubs strive for, particularly when it comes to grooming future community business leaders. Nowhere was this more important than when the most recent Farmingdale Breakfast Rotary meeting’s guests were Stanley Pelech, director of Integrated Academic and Technical studies and Jodi Haniquet, advisor of the Farmingdale High School (FHS) Interact club. Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people. The Farmingdale Breakfast Rotary is the sponsor of the 75-plus student strong high school club. Advisor Jodi Haniquet reported to Rotary club members what  fundraising events the Interact Club will participate in for the 2015 school year. The service group will once again team with FHS student government in a food drive – donations collected for Island Harvest pantries. They will also participate in Ronald McDonald house dinner program – cooking and serving meals on the premises in New Hyde Park for the many families staying at the residence while their seriously ill children receive treatment at nearby hospitals.


Sports

The Farmingdale State College Women’s Volleyball team earned a three-set victory of York in a non-conference match on Oct. 8. 

 

Tied 4-4 in the opening set, Farmingdale State freshman defensive specialist Gina Giacalone served for 14 consecutive points to extend the advantage 18-4. The Rams cruised to a 25-8 victory in the first set. 

Farmingdale team wins annual Bethpage Ocean to Sound Race

On Sunday, Sept. 28, the Farmingdale-based Runner’s Edge team earned first place overall in the 29th annual Bethpage Ocean to Sound Relay. The team, representing the Runner’s Edge running and multisport specialty store located at 242 Main St. in Farmingdale, consisted of Boyd Carrington, Andrew Coelho, Nick Pampena, Tim Lee, Shawn Anderson, Ryan Healy, Kevin Galante, and Brandon Abasolo. It completed the 50-mile course from Jones Beach State Park to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay in 4 hours, 41 minutes, 58 seconds. The runners won by a margin of more than 10 minutes over the runner-up team from the Sayville & Smithtown Running Company, with much of the difference supplied by the strong Leg 2 performance by Andrew Coelho. Runner’s Edge Teams also took second place honors in the Mixed Open and Men’s Masters Divisions of the Relay. The Relay was sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union (“Built to Give You More”), with new Race Directors Glen Wolther and Keith Montgomery managing the event for the host Greater Long Island Running Club.


Calendar

Women's Club of Farmingdale - October 16

Board of Trustees Work Session - October 20

Jack O'Lantern Extravaganza - November 2


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com