14 May 2024

Culinary Arts Students Shine At Cooking Competition

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Gwen Weaver and Eleanor Nery from Bath Regional Career and Technical Center – first place winners. Photo credit: University of Maine

Real Maine was in attendance and one of our own was a judge at the Innovative Local Foods Cooking Challenge Competition held at the University of Maine at Orono recently.

The event, in its fourth year, is part of the University of Maine’s Professional Development in Agricultural Literacy project, which takes a multi-pronged approach to increasing career and technical education culinary arts instructors and, by extension, their students, understanding, engagement, and passion for the agricultural landscape and food system in Maine.

Ten of Maine’s high school CTE culinary arts programs sent teams of two to compete. The young chefs had a pantry of local ingredients to use (including several Real Maine members’ products) and were given a total of 2 hours – 30 minutes for formulating a concept and recipe(s), 1 hour and 15 minutes for cooking, and a 15-minute service window. Requirements for their dishes included the inclusion of a cooked protein, a starch, one or more vegetables cooked or raw, and a sauce. Students were judged on professionalism, cooking, and presentation.

The winners were:

  • First place: Eleanor Nery and Gwen Weaver from Bath Regional Career and Technical Center – local salmon over black barley risotto and carrot purée
  • 2nd place: Lucy Alexander and Alex Mullins from Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter – rainbow grain bowl
  • 3rd place: Sadie Lee and Sean Crose from Region 2 School of Applied Technology in Houlton – sausage gravy over biscuits with root vegetable hash and a sunny side up egg