Revolving Test Kitchen Reveals Finalists

by NOËL CODY

Hilton and Danny Torres, El Encanto BBQ

Hilton and Danny Torres, El Encanto BBQ

Two culinary contenders dished on plans and dished out plates in hopes of setting up residency in the Revolving Test Kitchen.

Like a scene from your favorite cooking competition show, a panel awaited each chef. Sitting at the table were Sal Lupoli, President and CEO of Lupoli Companies, Derek Mitchell, Lawrence Partnership, Lane Glenn, President of Northern Essex Community College, and Dan Rivera, Mayor of Lawrence.

First up was El Encanto BBQ. Father and son team, Hilton and Danny Torres, served a selection of delicate, mouthwatering empanadas and Rellenos de Papa complemented by a signature sauce—a sampling of their varied menu featuring a fresh fusion of Puerto Rican classics and BBQ favorites. The pair showcased their combined 35 years of culinary experience by highlighting a plan to bottle and market their line of BBQ sauces while focusing on family, something that resonated with Sal Lupoli. “Being successful means not being afraid to lean on someone else for support and working with family creates an opportunity to work hard for a great reward,” said Sal. Recognizing that this would be an incredible stepping stone for him and his father, Danny added, “This is a great opportunity to grow as an entrepreneur and really be successful.”

Ray Gonzalez, CocRay's with candidate Sam Cortiella, PapiVivi 

Ray Gonzalez, CocRay's with candidate Sam Cortiella, PapiVivi 

The second finalist was PapiVivi. Passing around Puerto Rican-style sandwiches, Sam Cortiella told the panel how this business idea began as a way to connect with his daughter, Vivi. “I wanted to teach her about our culture,” said Sam, “But I also wanted to boost her confidence and find a common bond.” So, they got creative crafting their sandwiches and handing them out for free across all five boroughs in New York City. Citing Lawrence as the best place for him to begin PapiVivi’s next chapter, he expressed how the location and leadership offered by RTK would help him realize his dream of moving into a brick and mortar. “We’ve crossed every hurdle and now we can foster guidance and support for a company that wants to cultivate their business, starting it here and staying in Lawrence as it grows,” said Sal Lupoli.

Following the success of the first restaurant, Coco Ray’s, the Revolving Test Kitchen has proven that entrepreneurship is booming in the Merrimack Valley with another resident chef ready to set up shop. See who will fire up this coveted kitchen when the winner is announced at the end of the month!