North Conway – The second edition of Valley Food Fight (Valley Food Fright) is in the books, raising more than $5000 for the Valley Promotions Member Organizations who participated.
Held on October 19 at Fire by Wicked Fresh, 8 local chefs were supplied with 3 mystery ingredients and instructed to create a Fall/Halloween themed 3 course meal. The mystery ingredients, supplied by The Valley Originals, were corn chips, unsalted cream of mushroom soup and “sweet heat” bread and butter pickles. Interestingly, it was the soup that seemed most difficult for the chefs to incorporate. They did and each presented a different dish. Judge Clay Groves, reigning Mount Washington Valley Mr., stated, “Valley Food Fright was amazing; some of the food was surprising, some was scary, all were yummy. It was fun to eat the food and hear about all about the non-profits that were participating. Congratulations to all the contestants, this was a hard competition to judge!”.
Event host and judge Daniel Rassi, enthused “What an amazing job by all the contestants. We called on the valley to deliver and that’s exactly what these cooks did. So proud of all of them – it wasn’t an easy theme and they all came out and crushed it. I can’t wait to see what the next competition holds!!!”
In keeping with the Halloween aspect of the event, meals were delivered by Winnifred Sanderson (Hannah-Jo Weisberg) and several of them were ghoulishly clever. At the end of the event, ShaVaughn Peterson was crowned winner. The new-comer to the Valley made a great entrance incorporating all 3 ingredients in each course. The main dish was a vegetarian Shepherd’s pie, the side was green bean casserole and the final component was bread & butter pickle cornbread.
When asked about the experience, Peterson said, “Winning this has definitely been a boost to my confidence. Intellectually, I know I’m talented, but success requires more than talent; it requires passion and a certain level of connection with your audience. I wasn’t sure how my idea of a good flavor profile would go over in The Valley. Rolling with the curve ball that was this basket, and winning no less, was an affirmation of what I’m capable of. It was also an important reminder that even the most simple and overlooked ingredients can be elevated.”
Nancy Clark placed 2nd for Bartlett Firefighter’s Association. “It was so much fun!”, she reported. “I loved the energy of the event. The judges were awesome and I can’t wait to participate again. And, like every chef who participated, I was so proud to support such a great cause.”
Jason Stevens, of Smokin’ J’s Wicked BBQ, took the 3rd place spot, representing the Kevin Peare Memorial Skate Park. “It has been an honor to take part in this super fun food fight”, he said. “We get to help raise money for multiple charities, as well as play around with food… which is one of my favorite toys to play with! It is great to be a part of such a welcoming and friendly community. My hat’s off to all the cooks that joined and the volunteers and judges. Can’t wait till next year’s challenge”!
Sara Moore, who brought the idea to Valley Promotions last November, also served as a judge. “It was so much fun seeing the chefs’ creations and how they incorporated the mystery ingredients into the dishes. All of the chefs did a remarkable job and it’s such a fun way to highlight the valleys non-profits. I am thrilled that White Mountains Pride and ShaVaughn won the grand prize of $1,000 with an outstanding dish of shepherd’s pie, green bean casserole with a twist and a funky sweet and spicy pickled cornbread. So yummy!”, she said.
Other Chefs and Organizations represented were Megan Clement, representing Assistance Canine Training Services (ACTS), Andrew Fournier, representing Arts in Motion Theater Company, Joan Heysler, representing Tin Mountain Conservation Center, David LaFond, representing Linderhof Country Club, and Laurie Ramsay, representing Harvest Hills Animal Shelter. In total, more than $5000 was raised for the participating organizations. All of the participants were awarded prizes donated by local businesses.
“The event was a great spooky success”, claimed Judge Matteo Lentini. “The contestants used the ingredients in many different ways; it was a great way to spend a Tuesday evening, after a long hike, eating comfort food made by some of our best community chefs”.
Judge Dave Hausman noted, “What an incredible effort by all 8 chefs. Each one put their heart into their creations and it showed. Ultimately it was the use of the ingredients and the themes of the meals that swayed the judges. Great stuff.”
Valley Promotions Board member and Valley Food Fight committee member, Emily Calderwood stated, “What a fun event! Our chefs continue to impress our panel of judges, and are making the work of choosing just one winner harder every time. We’re thrilled to see so much support for our local non-profits and are looking forward to the 3rd edition of Valley Food Fight”.
According to Valley Promotions Executive Director, Lisa DuFault, the organizers are already discussing what that next version of Valley Food Fight should be.
Rob Clark served as emcee and prizes were awarded by Miss Mount Washington Valley Teen, Lily Chick. Watch for the program to air on Valley Vision Channel 3 and on Facebook soon. If you are interested in participating in a future version, as a chef or a judge, contact Valley Promotions at valleypromotions.
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