The RSU 12 Palermo Panthers and RSU 54 Team Son-day squared off in the Maine Department of Education’s (DOE) first regional Farm to School Cook-off on March 23rd. The competition was held at the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center and is the first of three regional competitions that will take place this month, sponsored by the DOE’s Child Nutrition Office.
The school teams, consisting of one school nutrition professional and one student, were tasked with creating a breakfast and lunch meal using three local ingredients, including buckwheat flour as the breakfast “challenge” ingredient and beets as the lunch “challenge” ingredient, as well as one USDA food.
Mike Flynn and Ben Bragg from the Palermo Panthers cooked up a breakfast “paco”, which consisted of egg and cheese rolled into a buckwheat flour pancake.
Gina Bailey and her son Caleb Pratt from Team Son-day whipped up a breakfast flower waffle using buckwheat flour, and presented their dish in the shape of a flower with fruit as the pedals and stem. Both teams created a beet smoothie, using a kid-friendly approach to a less familiar vegetable.
For lunch, the Palermo Panthers made “muchos tacos” using various proteins, served on top of a homemade buckwheat flour tortilla, with a beet/carrot slaw on the side. Team Son-day cooked grilled chicken with red flannel hash, a buckwheat biscuit, and heart shaped watermelon on the side.
Team Son-day, who has been competing in the cook-off for several years, walked away with the win. They dedicated this event to their late mother and grandmother, and the dishes were specially crafted with her in mind.
A great day was had by all! Following two more regional cookoffs set for March 29th and March 31st, RSU 54 will advance, along with winning teams from the remaining regional cookoffs, to the finals round which will take place at the Child Nutrition Culinary Classroom on April 26th.