Last night, two teams of students faced off in the 8th annual “ªDoug Pollock Polar Chef Competition, hoping to wow a critical panel of four judges with the gourmet delicacies they had just 60 minutes to whip up.
The student-chefs set to work immediately once the table cloth was thrown from the table of possible ingredients. With no advance warning of what they would be given to work with, they did have a bounty of fresh food for inspiration. This year’s theme was a Maine Market Basket, and all the food – mussels, chicken, root vegetables, shrimp, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, maple syrup, red beans, et al – came from local producers.
The two teams – one called The Butter People, the other the Power Rangers: Cooking Force – showed remarkable focus and composure under pressure. And both created masterpieces. The Power Rangers finished first, presenting judges Prof. Henry Laurence, Dean Leana Amaez, local restaurateur Richard Gnauck of Richard’s Restaurant in Brunswick, and Silvia Serban from the Student Activities Office with a colorful plate of fried chicken, root vegetable patties, shrimp pasta with pesto, and salad with vinaigrette.
But it was The Butter People who pulled off a narrow win, impressing the judges with their mussels, haddock, root vegetable medley and caramelized onions, all drenched in a wine-butter sauce.