Customer Cooking Contest Results
Congratulations to Adrienne Anderson for taking first place in our 7th Annual Customer Cooking Contest this Saturday. Her Vegetable and Pork Lasagna wowed the judges and had an alluring visual appeal to those of us watching.
Perennial contestant Ashley Hughson, presented a Vegetable Provencal that luxuriated in its baking dish and danced on the tongue. The combo brought in a strong Silver Medal.
A first ever third place tie had Jim Sargent and Mike Bolio pitting Italian Eggplant with Roasted Corn against Jamaican Jerked Chicken and Apple/Heirloom Tomato Salsa Sandwiches.
Judges included our own energetic Chef Todd Heberlein, veteran Dave Becker of Needham’s Sweet Basil, and last year’s winner cum professional chef Laurie Cochran of Wellesley’s Pure Gold Granola. What’s that? A former Customer Cooking Contest winner is now an honest to goodness vendor with product on our shelves? Dreams can come true and they can start right here at Volante’s.
But on to the judging. Firstly, as a rule, the entrants this year were the strongest overall pool we have seen in years. In fact the judges were adamant that they were choosing among the best and that the dishes overall were perfectly seasoned and very professionally presented.
Chef Todd, new to this sort of excitement, was impressed by the seasoning and that “this was a lot harder than [he] thought it would be, because everything was so good!”
The judges, when faced with many exquisite dishes eventually settled on deciding in favor of the plate that most celebrated the farm, and the vast array of homegrown produce available for these creations. Adrienne’s creation used many of Volante’s homegrown favorites to create her dish, including yellow and green zucchini, basil, onion, carrot, and garlic.
The vast array of Volante vegetables packed into this tight little package really shone through, and as a result she took home top honors, including a $75 Volante Gift Card, lunch for 4 to Sweet Basil, and a large bag of Pure Gold Granola. Additionally, and perhaps the best prize of all, she will be offered the chance to guest judge the competition next summer.
Ashley’s Vegetable Provencal presented itself as a rich layered melange of summer vegetables. Points go to the smart use of beautiful Homegrown Dancer Eggplant, as well as zucchini, onion, garlic and tomatoes. No stranger to the winner’s podium, Ashley has also placed in our Apple Pie Contest, so don’t hesitate to accept a seat at her table given the opportunity. She and her family joined me for a field tour right after the judging, and the gusto with which they chomped down all the raw field fresh veggies we found on the way– radishes, beans and even basil–shows she can both please a discerning crowd and train young tastes buds to be open to new tastes. Ashley went away with a $50 Volante Gift Card and lunch for 2 at Sweet Basil and a bag of Pure Gold Granola.
Our third place tie between Jim Sargent and Mike Bolio had both chefs going home with a $35 Volante Gift Card and Pure Gold Granola. Jim’s dish received rave reviews for the interplay between the eggplant and corn, clean and simple flavors working very well together. Mike’s sandwich was a more complex affair, with perfectly cooked chicken and a cooling salsa to catch some of the heat.
In addition to seasoning, presentation was another skill all of our entrants possessed this year. To get a look at all this years entrants click here to go to our photo blog. For recipes for our top contenders, click on the dish’s photo above. To get in on the fun yourself, stay tuned for announcements about this fall’s Apple Pie Contest, it is right around the corner!