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Local chefs to compete in culinary competition

envIRONmental CHEF homegrown fundraising event focuses on farm-fresh foods

— As a way to celebrate the abundance of locally grown and produced foods in Central New York, Baltimore Woods Nature Center is hosting its inaugural “envIRONmental CHEF homegrown” competition and fundraiser, which will feature four CNY regional chefs — three of whom are from Skaneateles — at Baltimore Woods in mid-September.

“Baltimore Woods Nature Center’s mission is to connect people with the natural world surrounding us. Since food is one of our most fundamental connections to nature, an event showcasing the many ways to eat locally, and the benefits to our physical, mental and community health is an important part of our work,” said Patty Weisse, executive director of the nature center.

Using only locally grown and produced foods, Steve Landon, Farm to Table Chef (Skaneateles); Joelle Mollinger, Joelle’s French Bistro (Skaneateles); Ellen Leahy, bc (Syracuse); and Alicyn Hart, Circa (Cazenovia), join this cook-off challenge competition to dazzle with their creative concoctions and culinary skills.

Sous chefs will be drawn from patron ticket holders to assist the contestants in the prep work of chopping, dicing and slicing. A panel of experts will weigh-in on the culinary creations, then, after everyone samples the foods, the audience will pick the winning chef.

“It's very exciting to use the Iron Chef concept on a local level — and for a great cause,” said Ellen Leahy, competitor and managing partner of bc Restaurant in Syracuse.

Leahy, a Skaneateles resident, said that at bc they regularly use local ingredients and shop at regional farmers markets regularly, such as the one at the Austin Park pavilion in Skaneateles, and they look for local ingredients at places such as Frietags. They also have started to source local ingredients at bc this summer, such as Harvest Home Organics, who is at the Skaneateles farmers market regularly, and School House Farms heirloom tomatoes from Borodino.

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