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First Ever Tilapia Cook-off Competition on Rota (September 17, 2009)

The tilapia will take center stage on October 9 as the Northern Marianas College hosts the first-ever “Tilapia Cook-Off Competition” on Rota.

The competition is organized by NMC’s Cooperative Research Extension and Education Service's (CREES) Aquaculture and Fisheries Development program, which aims to advance public awareness, education, research, training and outreach in the fields of aquaculture and fisheries production.

According to Michael Ogo, Aquaculture program coordinator, “The free competition is meant to encourage the consumption and production of homegrown tilapia, which is a very healthy source of protein.”

The competition also seeks to expand the tilapia’s use not only as local food source, but also as an opportunity for additional income.

“Small scale aquaculture farming for family consumption can be great help to the pockets of families on Rota during difficult economic times,” added Ogo. “It’s also a great way to promote life skills training, especially for our youth.”

The Tilapia Cook-Off Competition will take place at the Rota Roundhouse from 6pm to 9pm on October 9, 2009. All non-professional chefs on Rota are invited to participate and to showcase their best recipe for homegrown tilapia.

There are separate categories for youths (ages 15-18) and adults (over 18). The best three recipes in each category will win up to $150. Each participant of this free competition will also have a chance to have his or her recipe showcased in a recipe book that NMC-CREES is planning to publish.

The event is supported by NMC-CREES’ Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and 4-H Youth development programs. WSTCO Feeds is a commercial sponsor, and the tilapia for the cook-off is provided by Nicolas Songsong and Joshua Calvo.

Registration for the Tilapia Cook-Off Competition will start on Monday, September 21, 2009. Registration forms should be faxed or delivered to NMC-CREES Rota no later than Monday, October 5, 2009. Participation is free for all. For more information and registration forms, please contact Evelyn Mendiola or Dean Manglona at 532-9511.

The NMC-CREES Aquaculture and Fisheries Program is funded by the Smith-Lever program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture.

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