Last Thursday, October 13, 2011, eight Burlington area restaurants created delicious food using locally sourced food ingredients provided by over 35 Vermont food producers. The restaurants were vying for the title of Grand Food Miles Champion and/or any one of three other titles which included: Lowest Food Miles, People's Choice, and Judges’ Choice. More than 180 guests enjoyed servings from each restaurant and helped to decide the People's Choice award. They also tasted four varieties of wine from Boyden Valley Winery. (Photo: Skinny Pancake steak & potatoes.)
What is a food mile? A food mile is a phrase to describe the distance a food travels to get to one’s plate. No ingredients in our competition traveled more than 60 miles to the kitchen!
Lowest Food Miles: In third place, with 9.7 miles was Skinny Pancake. In second place with 6.52 miles was Sugarsnap. First place went to Barkeaters with 6.45 miles – Creating a delicious dish using local ingredients that traveled the least distance. Their dish was Bloomin’ Beet and Carrot Latkes with Apple Relish. The food producers included Bloomfield Farm, Charlotte; Nitty Gritty Grains, Charlotte; Philo Farm, Charlotte and Shelburne Orchards, Shelburne.
People’s Choice: In second place there was a tie between Leunigs Bistro and Sweetwaters. In first place was American Flatbread – Creating a delicious dish deemed the best overall by ECHO guests. Their dish was Cider Braised Lamb with Butternut Squash Puree and Spiced Apple Chutney. The food producers included Shelburne farms, Shelburne; Shelburne Orchard, Shelburne, Stony Loam Farm, Charlotte. (Photo: American Flatbread with line of hungry folk.)
Judges’ Choice: Third place was August First, second place was Sugarsnap and the winner was Skinny Pancake – Creating a delicious dish deemed the best overall by the celebrity judges. Their dish was Steak and Potatoes. The food producers included Arethusa Farm, Burlington Intervale; Charlotte Berry Farm, Charlotte, Jericho Settlers’ Farm, Jericho; Personal Garden, Burlington.
The Judges’ Choice was determined by the votes of four celebrity judges: Alice Leavitt, food writer, Seven Days newspaper; Sally Pollack, Burlington Free Press Food writer; Sarah Langan, core faculty member, New England Culinary Institute; and Cheryl Herrick, food blogger from crankycakes.com.
Grand Food Miles Champion: Sugarsnap – Creating the best overall dish with the least food miles, determined by a combination of overall points in the three categories. Their dish was Roasted Garlic Soup with Cheddar Tuile. The food producers included Bread and Butter Farm, S. Burlington; City Chicks, Burlington Interval; Full Moon Farms, Hinesburg; Samara farm, Burlington Intervale, Shelburne farms, Shelburne; Sugarsnap Farm, Burlington Intervale; Windstone Farm, Williston.
When asked about the quality of the food prepared by area chefs, food judge Cheryl Herrick commented, “The variety of what was prepared was amazing and the level of excellence was motivational.” Another food judge, Alice Levitt was pleasantly surprised by some of the ingredients used stating “I saw chefs using products that I didn’t even know we had in Vermont. And the use of the common Sumac to create a caramel in a dessert was amazing.” (Photo: Winning Chefs from Sugarsnap, American Flatbread, Skinny Pancake.)
“We couldn’t be happier with the turnout and the quality of offerings at this year’s event”, said Molly Loomis, ECHO’s Director of Education. “This event created the opportunity to learn, build relationships and show creativity with fresh Vermont food ingredients. All of our ECHO After Dark programming (second Thursday of each month) is geared toward our 21+ audience with one foot anchored in learning and the other in fun!”