By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,246)
It was Team # 3 from the Southern Maine Community College (“SMCC”) Culinary program that took first place in the Harvest on the Harbor Culinary College Competition this afternoon at Ocean Gateway. The team of four won $4,000. for their efforts and the enthusiastic praise of the three judge panel. A total of $16,000. in cash was awarded to the competitors.
About 192 people filled Ocean Gateway on Portland’s East End to sample the three salmon submissions from three teams of students at the SMCC culinary program. The three judges were John DiMillo, DiMillo’s on the Waterfront, Richard Grotton, Maine Restaurant Association and Chef Wilfred Beriau, formerly head of the culinary program at SMCC. True North Salmon donated 50 lbs. of Atlantic salmon for the event as well as the scholarship money totaling $6,000. The salmon was trucked down from Machiasport Thursday evening to SMCC, according to Andrew Lively, marketing director.
Team # 3 prepared a leek and chard stuffed salmon with a dill and cream cheese sauce with an arugula and beet salad. Chef Beriau said these “students were well prepared. They were confident in their presentation and in their own skill level. I was proud of them.” Richard Grotton said he liked their stage presence, the complexity and dressing of the plate. Flavor carried the day and Team # 3 did not play it safe.” John DiMillo said of Team # 3, “the food quality and presentation were great. I hope they have this competition every year. It’s great for up and coming culinary students. Gets them exposure and practical experience.” All three teams were advised by Chef Geoffrey Boardman, chair, of the Culinary Arts Department at SMCC.
Meghan Manseau one of the members of Team # 3, said following the competition that her team are members of the “knowledgeable club” at SMCC. The group studies 6 extra textbooks to learn “in depth about ingredients and the balance it brings to the plate.” That knowledge was apparent to all three judges in the competition.
Barbara Whitten, executive director of Portland Visitors’ Bureau, the host of the fifth annual Harvest on the Harbor said following the competition: “It’s been an overhwhelming success. This is the most heart warming event in its five years. We invited all the culinary students in the state to participate. Next year we hope to expand the competition for culinary students greatly.”
There are tickets available for Saturday, October 27th. There are two sessions of Savory Samplings at the Marketplace that are identical.
editor’s note: Caption under top left photo should be: The Three Judges Confer.