The event was sponsored by Garden City Harvest, FoodCorps and UM Dining. I got involved in the competition as a member of the Garden City Harvest community.
The competition was the brainchild of Peter Kerns, an ebullient FoodCorps service member who works with the MCPS Central Kitchen and Garden City Harvest's Farm to School program. Peter organized the event and secured donations from local businesses and prize money from UM Dining. He also jumped in to MC in place of Mayor John Engen, who was indisposed due to a family emergency.
Students had 2 hours to complete their dishes and present them to the judges for tasting. Each team's start time was staggered by 15 minutes so there was time to taste and discuss each dish before moving on.
|Photos courtesy of Genevieve Jessop Marsh|
The teams were graded on the basis of the following criteria: 1. Overall flavor, quality, texture and doneness, 2. Presentation, 3. Creative use of local ingredients, 4. Nutritional value.
Team Big Sky whipped up a delicious baked dish named Pasta Tsuber after one of the chefs. Just about everything that went into Pasta Tsuber was grown and made in Montana- the egg noodles, ground beef, spices and cheese. They plated this lasagna-like square of pasta with a side of garlic bread made with MT pickled garlic.
Team Sentinel built a piece of flatbread from scratch and covered it with tender chunks of chicken, colby-jack cheese, onion, herbs, homemade yogurt ranch dressing and julienned strips of red, green and gold peppers soaked in ice water til they curled.
Team Hellgate dazzled the eyes and taste buds with a Sweet Honey Dijon Chicken and Forbidden Rice: three ounces of perfectly cooked chicken breast (and that's not easy to do) awash in a golden honey-mustard-pineapple sauce atop a purple-black mound of forbidden rice.
The grand prize went to Team Sentinel for their Peppy Chicken Flat Bread.
It was a treat to be involved in this event and to see students working hard and cooking together. Judging by their enthusiasm, it was a rewarding experience for them as well.