Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Welcome to the review of the 2nd annual Hood Dairy Cook-Off Challenge and 1st annual Chef's Challenge in beautiful Portland, Maine!
As you can see, it was an amazing weekend!
Early Saturday morning, Tom and I packed our bag and got in the truck, headed to Portland for such a great opportunity--because of this blog, I was asked to be a judge in Hood's Dairy Cook-Off and Chef's Challenge!
We arrived at the Ocean Gateway Terminal in Portland around 230 in the afternoon and was greeted by CJ, a PR rep for Hood. He showed to my seat at the judge's table along with 9 other judges, all food bloggers from across New England. We were going to be tasting and rating a dish by professional chefs with the theme "Thanksgiving with a Twist." The chef's had 60 minutes to create their dishes with the one stipulation that they must use at least one Hood product in their dish. The results? Absolutely incredible!
From the state of Maine, Chef Gary Cartwright of Stripers
Fall Harvest Bread Pudding with Bacon Brittle and Sour Cream Maple Ice Cream
From the state of Massachusettes, Chef Josh Ziskin of La Morra
Chicken Breast stuffed with Braised Kale and Sopressata atop Mushroom Polenta
From the State of New Hampshire, Chef Evan Mallet of Black Trumpet Bistro
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Pancetta Chestnut Hash and Arugula Salad
From the state of Rhode Island, Chef Matt Jennings of La Laiterie Bistro
Deconstructed Thanksgiving Leftover Pot Pie with Biscuits, Pickled Autumn Vegetables & Turkey Sausage
From the state of Vermont, Chef Steve Atkins of the Kitchen Table Bistro
Turkey Tetrazzini with a Free Form Ravioli (the noodles were made with sour cream!)
And the winnner is......
Representing from the GREAT state of CT, Chef Red Keith Lamphear of the Black Rock Tavern in Thomaston, with his creation Stuffed Chicken Breast with Pumpkin Spaetzle
Words and pictures really cannot describe the smells, the taste and the incredible feeling in the room during the competition. My wonderful husband, Tom, sat behind me the whole time--he was starving by the end of it all! It was great to meet fellow bloggers from across New England who have the same passion for great food. Thanks so much to Hood for the incredible honor of judging this competition! (And thank you to funandfearlessinbeantown for her awesome close-up pictures of these dishes! Maybe Santa will bring me a great camera like hers?)
We also stayed for the taping of the Hood Dairy Cook-Off where home cooks from across New England competed for $10,000! It was great to be a part of the audience, sit back and relax and watch more amazing dishes being created in front of us. I met the competitor from Connecticut, Linda, who's semi-finalist dish was Sassy Shrimp Court Bouillon with Asiago Crostini--it looked delicious! If you live in New England, check out TV Diner on NECN, where this program will be airing.
It truly was a wonderful weekend, nice to get away for a night, even if we couldn't stay for long (I had a huge exam to study for and I'm happy to report that I did very well!)--it is very hard for us to do much of anything lately, even going out for dinner because of my schooling. I hope to be able to come back to Portland to experience more of what this foodie town has to offer!