Mt. Abe, Vergennes students cook up a storm at Jr. Iron Chef competition

ESSEX JUNCTION — Addison Northeast Supervisory Union schools, and schools in the northern half of Addison County in general, were well represented at the sixth annual Jr. Iron Chef Vermont competition on Feb. 2 at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex Junction.
On a beautiful Saturday morning, 75 middle and high school teams from all over Vermont participated in the competition.
Teams had 90 minutes to wow a diverse panel of expert judges, including James Beard Award-winning author Rowan Jacobsen and school chef Meggen Hanna. With original recipes that feature local ingredients, students created dishes that could be replicated on the school lunch line.
More than 1,000 spectators cheered on their local teams, participated in fun activities, and enjoyed live music and dance from Vermont youth groups Diversity Rocks! and Sweet Transition.
Addison Northeast and Addison Northwest supervisory unions were well represented in both the middle school and high school categories. Three teams from Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School and two teams from Vergennes Union High School and the Walden Project (the VUHS alternative education program that operates in Monkton) made an excellent showing at the competition and although the teams did not take any of the four awards this year, their advisers said they all did an outstanding job and made the county proud.
This competition challenged students to create one dish that could be served in school that used many local and seasonal ingredients. Students developed recipes, practiced for many weeks with their chef coaches, and then prepared their dish in 90 minutes for the 14 judges to sample.
Teams created Root Veggie Frittata with Caramelized Apples and Wheat Berries, Tremendous Tofu Burgers with Black Bean Aoli, Wicked Wheat Berry and Kale Salad, Vermont Style Mulligatawny Soup, and Walden Garden Shepherd’s Pie. The students’ recipes will be featured on their respective school menus for National Agriculture Day — March 19 at both Mt. Abe and VUHS.
Members of Addison County teams this year were:
Middle School — “Mt. Abe Soup a Stars”: Peter Gebo, Christian Boutin, Sam Kuhns, Kai Correll
High School — “Gourmet Girls”: Julia Quattrocci, Zoe Bunch, Alex Carlton, Mikko Wells
High School — “Whisking Wizards”: Susan Brace, Sara Jo Snide
Middle School — “Culinary Commodores”: Kaitlyn Brace, Lexi Brace, Olivia Kayhart, Ellie Martin
High School — “Walden Garlic Planters”: Rachel Duke, Patrick McCarthy, Chelsea Fuller

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