Thursday afternoon I was invited to be a judge on the NWSS Chopped Challenge for a group of grade 9 students. And let me begin by saying that although some of the dishes were not great, the attitude, the energy, and the respect that the students showed to the food was certainly inspiring.
The students were told of two ingredients ahead of time – fresh blueberries and bacon. They were presented with the third “secret” ingredient at the start of class – Teddy Graham crackers.
Here we have a student prepping and practicing the art of making crepes. I was impressed with the attention to detail that almost all the grade 9 students took. This particular group made crepe after crepe and would not quit until they had crepes that looked perfect.
The above dish was a blueberry salsa that the students were making that would go with a bacon quesadilla. They were a little stuck with what more to do with the salsa and I was impressed to see them add a finely chopped apple to add a crisp and tart counter-balance to the sweetness of the blueberries.
The closest plate is a bacon, blueberry scone. Unfortunately there was not enough time to get it to cook through so it was not the winner. If the students had made mini scones they might have had a better shot at winning. Next time.
The next dish over was the plated crepes with a blueberry and bacon sauce. The crepes were quite beautifully formed and I was impressed with this dish. This was my runner-up dish.
Next to it is the actual winning dish – a blueberry-bacon panini which worked very nicely. An effective use of spices – a dash of cinnamon? made the flavours pop up admirably. The bread was crisp and the filling was sweet with a hint of savoury. A winning combination.
For a group of grade 9 students – this was a great display of skill. Shirley Chan, their teacher did a nice job of helping this group of students develop an appreciation for food and preparing food.