Finally, it’s just about time for Maple Sugar Weekend at Stamford Museum & Nature Center! A full weekend of sweet family and maple syrup-loaded fun on March 1 + 2 from 11-3 pm. And, while many of the activities and events that you love are the same, there are some nice changes this year, too.
First up, you’ll be able to pick up some lunch and dinner at SM&NC just by stopping by for some grub at two food trucks on Saturday. On hand will be the ooey gooey goodness of Melt Mobile and the classic American staples from Cowabunga!
And, the second change is a big one, taking Maple Sugar Weekend in a new direction. Instead of the Chef’s Challenge, this year there will be First County Bank’s Teen Chefs Challenge. This contest pits four local teens against each other to see who can use maple syrup the best in their own dessert recipes. Check out the action (and taste the sweets) from 11:30-1:30 pm on Saturday!
First up (bios and pics courtesy of SM&NC) is Hannah Bukzin (13) from Westport
Hannah Bukzin is a freshman at Staples High School in Westport. Ever since she was 7, she has always loved cooking. She would make her own pancakes and eggs in the morning with her dad and loved watching and participating. After a year or two, she started to watch Food Network (Alton Brown is her man!) and became more interested in the topic of food.
Having never used a knife before, never taken a cooking class, and never used a cookbook, she started to experiment with different ingredients and different types of knife cuts. Ever since then, she has been watching Food Network and continuing to practice and experiment. She started off with a little bowl of pasta, and now she is breaking down whole fish and making stocks with the bones. Hannah loves to cook because she can express herself and express her creativity.
This past summer she participated in the Wellesley College cooking camp and most recently, she won the CTbites/Marica Selden “Chopped” style cook-off where she competed against two (adult) finalists. Aside from always wanting to cook, Hannah has her heart set on going to Yale and majoring in Neuroscience. She hopes to become a neurosurgeon. Hannah hopes she can do both because she has a true love for food and cooking is something that defines her!
The second competitor is Evan Cassidy (15) from Northford (People’s Choice Winner from Ultimate Cookie Contest with OmNomCT and Marcia Selden Catering)
Evan Cassidy was homeschooled his whole life. He is now starting his second semester at Gateway Community College in New Haven, Connecticut, majoring in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management. On his days off from school, he enjoys trying new recipes, snowboarding, and attending pottery classes. Evan hopes to take part in the Disney Culinary Program when he graduates and turns 18.
The third contestant is Marissa Young (13) from Stamford
Marissa is an 8th grader at Rippowam Middle School. She began baking when she was about 3 years old. Her father Dan has always loved to bake (he learned from his grandmother), and he has always had Marissa by his side in the kitchen, especially when baking cookies. Marissa then continued to bake on her own and with her friends. She is constantly getting encouragement from her brothers, who also enjoy her cookies, fudge and cupcakes. Her other passion is gymnastics, which she’s been doing since she was 2. Marissa especially enjoys sharing her sweet creations with her gymnastics team after a tough workout!
And the final competitor is Hunter Zampa (13) from Stamford
Hunter is not at all intimidated when cooking and battling against people that are older than him. His life-long dream is to become a chef and nothing is going to get in the way of him doing that. At the age of six, Hunter begged his father to teach him how to cook recipes from his Italian-American grandmother’s cookbook. For Hunter, Italian-American cooking brings out a passion in him that no other cuisine evokes. In the future, he wants to open up his own restaurant: one centered on a fusion between Italian and Thai food. At age 13, Hunter has a busy schedule being a kid and going to school but on weekends he forces himself to create new recipes in the kitchen. Since the age of 9, Hunter’s has been hoping to show the world what his cooking skills are all about and to one day become an Iron Chef. Most recently, Hunter participated on Food Network’s Rachel vs. Guy Kids Cook-Off and won Chopped, on an episode featuring teen competitors in December, making him the youngest winner of the show in its history.
And here are some of the other great things about this weekend:
- Sunday pancake brunch ($5 extra), 11-2 pm
- Maple syrup demos at the sugarhouse
- See how trees are tapped for sap
- Make maple-themed crafts
- Take part in scavenger hunts
- Get your face painted (adults, you can do it too)
- Buy SM&NC maple syrup
- Nom away on maple syrup-infused treats ( try the Snow Cones!)
- Visit the farm + animals
- Live music
Daily Admission Fees:
Members: $5 per person | Non-Members: $10 per person
Director’s Circle & Family Plus Members and all children 3 & under FREE