Does a local oncologist have the right stuff — and noodles — to win a national competition?
What better name for a participant in a cook-off than Carver?
That’s exactly how Dr. Joe Carver of Center City prepares his much touted fried “Bubby’s Noodle Strudel,” which has been chosen to compete for the final spot in the upcoming Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off.
Carver, chief of staff at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, is vying against four other home cooks for a chance to face off in what is billed as “the only national kosher competition in America.” Online voters will determine which of these "People's Choice" competitors will join four others selected by Manischewitz judges in the finals, which will be held in New York next month. Voters have until 11:59 p.m. this Thursday, Feb. 27, to review their recipes and cast their ballots at manischewitz.com.
This isn’t Carver's first shot at food fame.
The cardio-oncologist, a relatively new specialty in which physicians help cancer patients deal with cardiac problems, participated in the cook-off in 2008. He was president of Har Zion Temple at the time and his "Falafel Pizza" made it all the way to the finals. But he couldn't participate in the following years because the rules dictated no repeats for former finalists.
“I went to Manischewitz in 2011 and told them they should consider inviting former finalists back" in a special category.
Three years later, rules revised, Carver, about to turn 67, is back on board. He likes the odds — although he’s not one to count his noodle strudel before it’s time. Just before this article was published, he confided he had gone online to look at balloting results so far and had 54 percent of the vote.
His entry is a gustatory salute to his grandma, the late Bubby Reba Frankel, who used to make this special strudel. Carver carried on the tradition with his own kids. He and wife Peggy have three children as well as four grandchildren.
“I’m the cook of the family,” he says. “I’ve edged out my wife.”
But will his entree have the edge with online voters? Win or luxen, Carver says he's proud of his entry.
But, doc, is the strudel, with its adapted recipe now including cheddar cheese and tofu, heart-healthy?
The cardio-oncologist thinks a moment.
“Only if you eat it in small portions,” he admits.