Aug 20, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The second annual “envIRONmental CHEF homegrown” culinary competition has been announced for Sunday, Sept. 16, at Baltimore Woods Nature Center, with last year’s winners taking on new challengers and a new dessert competition added to the event.
The competition celebrates the abundance of locally grown and produced foods in Central New York, and pits the area’s finest chefs in head-to-head cook-off challenges that are tasted and decided by the audience.
“This event really works on so many levels. It’s a powerful and important event for Baltimore Woods to be doing, and it’s a real privilege to work with all the farmers and chefs and put them together for this competition,” said Patty Weisse, Baltimore Woods executive director. “We are excited to see as much of the Central New York agricultural bounty turned into delicious things to eat in front of the audience.”
The “envIRONmental CHEF homegrown” competition and fundraiser debuted last year by Baltimore Woods as a way to showcase locally grown foods cooked by regional chefs. Chefs Steve Landon, Farm to Table Chef (Skaneateles); Joelle Mollinger, Joelle’s French Bistro (Skaneateles); Ellen Leahy, bc (Syracuse); and Alicyn Hart, Circa (Cazenovia), participated in the cook-off challenge, assisted by sous chefs drawn from patron ticket holders to the event. The 150 attendees last year tasted every dish and voted Mollinger and Leahy the winners.
For this year’s competition, chefs Don Agate of The Krebs (Skaneateles) and Chris Kuhns of Phoebe’s Restaurant (Syracuse) will challenge last year’s champions. Like the 2011 competition, the chefs will create dishes using local ingredients and one mystery ingredient revealed at the start of the timed competition.
“I’m excited. I’ve done these kinds of competitions before and I love doing them. It gives chefs an opportunity to not only compete but to interact with each other,” Agate said. “Whatever they throw at you, every chef has a go-to idea of what they do with different ingredients.”
Last year, Agate, then executive chef at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, won the Fort Worth, Texas magazine 2011 Top Chef competition.
New to the “EnvIRONmental CHEF homegrown” competition this year will be a dessert challenge, featuring Abigail Henson of Lost & Fondue (Skaneateles), Allyson Landon of The Sherwood Inn (Skaneateles) and Emily Woloszyn of Lune Chocolat (Manlius). The main ingredient for the challenge will be Chobani yogurt, which is made in New York state.
The dessert competition was added this year because it “engages more of the chef community” and it opens a greater diversity of local products for use in the cooking, such as more fruits and nuts, Weisse said.
The dessert competition will not be head-to-head; the chefs will create their dishes in their restaurants and bring them to the event.
Sampling tables set up throughout the event will be manned by local food producers and growers showcasing locavore products. The list of participants grows daily and includes Nelson Farms, Stephen Landon, Parisa, Patisserie, The Inn Between Restaurant and The Sherwood Inn.
Guest emcees this year will be Thom Filicia, Interior Designer; Carrie Lazarus, Anchor–WSYR NewsChannel 9; and Rochelle Bilow, Food and Wine Writer.
The event is sponsored by Chobani Kitchen. Other sponsors include Clear Channel Radio Y94FM, Finger Lakes Organic Growers Cooperative, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Foundation, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Alliance Bank and Wegmans.
All proceeds from the event benefit Baltimore Woods Nature Center and Baltimore Woods’ Nature in the City science education program in Syracuse and Auburn.
General admission is $75 per person; patron level admission is $100 per person and includes the option for the buyer to enter a random drawing for a chance to be a sous chef to one of the celebrity chefs at this event.
People registering at the patron level must email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 673-1350 if they would like to enter their name in the sous chefs drawing. The sous chef drawing will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. Winning sous chefs will be notified by phone.
For more information or to register for the event, visit baltimorewoods.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.