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Latke gravas: Fried throwdown at Menorah

Too many cooks in the kitchen only added to the fun fry-up when the Menorah Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care in Manhattan Beach held a potato pancake contest, glazing the winners with something more than just dough — golden spatulas and major bragging rights.

Three hash-slinging squads made up of seniors and staffers at the elder facility on Oriental Boulevard, between Norfolk and McKenzie Streets, tossed down the culinary gauntlet for the Latke Throwdown April 22, which called upon teams “Golden Girls,” “Las Damas” and “Mishpacha” to create the best savories made of potato, flour and egg in the neighborhood.

Using family recipes handed down through generations, the latke lassies went skillet-to-skillet, scraping, molding and frying the choice morsels for a blind taste test by a panel of judges.

The champs? Team Las Damas comprising senior Lillian Bellows, Administrative Assistant Wendy Caceres and Human Resources coordinator Yvette Martinez.

“The competition was good but don’t forget I was a cook for 60 years! Of course I was going to win even though it wasn’t my recipe. I’m just that good!” quipped Bellows, whose team grated itself to the top spot because of an extra ingredient — carrots!

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