“I can’t think of a better way to get to know the staff of the Northeast Regional Office than to sample desserts that they’ve produced,” Brian Joyner, the new management assistant in the Northeast Regional Office said. On November 20, 2012, the Workforce Enrichment committee hosted a dessert contest, and Brian Joyner along with fellow Northeast Regional Office staff, Maryanne Gerbauckas, Rochelle Williams, and a surprise celebrity guest, Benjamin Franklin, flexed their tastebuds in an effort to select the best sweets in the office. The winner of the dessert contest is traditionally awarded a chef’s hat, which for many years has been proudly worn by Jeanette Kempa. “Her Brazilian red wine dessert was authentic and delicious and was the product of much hard work, but the crowd was ultimately wowed by Melissa Sims chocolatey treats,” Associate Regional Director, John Piltzecker proclaimed.
The judges conferred the coveted chef's hat to Melissa Sims for her delicious Chocolate Cake
Melissa Sims, the Northeast Regional office’s training officer, was awarded the chef’s hat for her outstanding “Too Much Chocolate Cake.” Mark Alexander took home the, “Would Make Martha Proud,” and the “Deserves its own TV Show,” awards for his arrowhead cookies, which reinterpreted the symbol of the National Park Service as a delicious baked good. “As much as I would like to do the egotistical thing and vote for myself, I was overruled by my tastebuds. The light, delicious, and unbelievably chocolatey dessert that Ms. Sims produced was inconceivably delectable,” Mr. Alexander admitted.
With such heavy competition, judging this contest was not easy. “If you find one you think you like, you want to eat more, but with so many desserts offered a judge must force himself or herself to be restrained and only nibble,” Brian Joyner said. Associate Regional Director, Maryanne Gerbauckas was wowed by the quality of the judging panel itself, but was inclined to defer to popular opinion when making her decision. “It was my first time serving on a panel with Benjamin Franklin, which is a singular, historical honor. Despite his pressure, when I had difficulty making up my mind, I listened to my many colleagues who were not shy to share their opinions,” she stated. Rochelle Williams admitted that, “It was difficult to make a singular choice from amongst so many delicious goodies. Even now, days later, I can still remember their taste. It was the best way for me to prepare for my family thanksgiving feast.”
The judges at the dessert contest argued spiritedly for their favorite sweets
The importance of hosting this and other Workforce Enrichment Committee events was brought home by Program Assistant Cynthia Warfield who stated, “We can isolate ourselves in our work groups or our offices and events like these build teams, break down barriers and foster comradery.” This spirit will be on fine display again in the near future, as the Workforce Enrichment Committee will be hosting its annual Christmas Cookie Contest in December. Deputy Regional Director, Gay Vietzke shared her knowledge of desserts and the Northeast Regional Office, explaining that, “The thanksgiving contest is the warmup. When we have the Christmas event, dozens of amazing cookies will be on offer. If the past is any prologue, the staff of the Northeast Regional Office will get to enjoy these sweets for at least a week afterwards.”
Employees point out their favorite desserts at the party