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What's New In the Adirondacks

Local Amateur Chefs Making A Name For Themselves

Think you're a phenomenal cook? Can you whip up a delicious Southwestern culinary creation? Gus and Deb Castellucci along with their team can! One of five teams who made it to the Double H Ranch Chuckwagon Challenge finals, the team will compete on Friday, June 29 for the gold star prize of $15,000.


Gus, of Queensbury, N.Y., entered this "one-of-a-kind" challenge with his wife, Deb, and two of her co-workers, Amberly Rundell of Glens Falls, N.Y. and Jennifer McDonald of Wilton, N.Y., from Mannix Marketing, Inc. The challenge itself is in conjunction with the Double H Ranch Annual Gala.

"I read the press release and got very excited about the grand prize," Gus said. "The entry fee goes to the kids, and we all love to cook, so it was a win/win."

The first round of the challenge involved teams creating three- to five-minute YouTube videos, "listing all ingredients and amounts, including a full explanation of preparation, cooking requirements, and time necessary to make the recipe from start to finish."

Amberly said the team prepared a Southwestern Deviled Gulf Crab Spread on Jalapeno Cornbread topped with Remoulade Sauce.

"We had a great time filming the video," said Gus. "We had 45 minutes of video that we had to cut down to five. There were quite a few laughs throughout the day."

After completing their video and sending it in, Amberly said the team was notified that they were one of five teams chosen for the finals.

Along with help from a mentor chef, each team will be required to prepare their Southwestern appetizer on June 29 during the Double H Ranch Annual Gala. Those attending the gala will sample the appetizers and choose a winner based on popularity.

"Our first thought was 'Oh my gosh, we have to feed 700 people!'" said Jennifer. "Then it turned to excitement when we thought about actually going all the way and maybe even winning!"

Although the team has its eyes set on the grand prize, they all hope for the best.

"The Double H Ranch is an amazing organization, and I hope this challenge brings in even more people to enjoy the gala and donate to the amazing kids that the Double H Ranch lives to help," said Deb.

Be sure to check back for updates on the finals!

Will you be attending the Double H Ranch Annual Gala? Are you excited for the Chuckwagon Challenge?

Want to try out some new recipes? Check out the Glens Falls Gourmet blog Deb and her co-workers run on GlensFallsRegion.com! CAUTION: Do not visit the site on an empty stomach!

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