‘Eat Local Week’ Celebrates Local Food with a Baking Contest and a Chef Throwdown

- September 23, 2011

"The basic requirement of this competition is to use locally grown or produced food..."

The Santa Fe Alliance is celebrating Eat Local Week October 10-16, presenting community events that promote local food. One of those events, a Local Food Baking Competition, is designed for home cooks who love to bake and use local ingredients in their recipes.

An esteemed panel of judges that includes Santa Fe chefs, foodies and others will choose winners from 15 contestants in five categories based on taste, creativity, presentation and a minimum of three local ingredients. Each additional local ingredient will receive bonus points.

The competition takes place at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market, beneath the water tower, on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 11 a.m. to noon. Contestants should arrive by 10:30 a.m. with their fully-baked entry, a dessert that is neither savory nor "no bake" style, which will be sliced and served to the judges onsite. They must also submit, by noon the day before the contest, a list that identifies the local ingredients used in the dish and where each ingredient was grown or produced.

The winner of the grand prize receives a private pastry lesson with Maria Bustamante-Bernal of the Tree House Pastry Shop. Other prizes have been donated by Edible Santa Fe, Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe, the Santa Fe School of Cooking and The Chocolate Maven.

Only people who live in Santa Fe County and have received no training or professional experience as chefs can compete in the Local Food Baking Competition, which is limited to 15 participants.

The desserts will be judged by Megan Tucker, executive chef at Amavi and Junction; Carol Rose, First Lady of Santa Fe and local economy supporter; Deborah Madison, cookbook author; Anna Farrier of Cooking with Kids; Maria Bustamante-Bernal of the Tree House Pastry Shop and Cafe,  Kate Manchester, publisher/editor of Edible Santa Fe magazine; apple farmer Eddie Velarde; and Bob Ross, president of the Santa Fe Farmers' Market Institute Board and host of the KSFR radio show "Gardens, Food and Santa Fe."

Contestants are encouraged to work with as many local ingredients as possible. "We want you to deeply embrace the concept of  'local,' according to information provided by the Santa Fe Alliance. "The basic requirement of this competition is to use locally grown or produced food, but we also want you to think carefully about where you purchase local items. Purchasing local food at the Farmers' Market or La Montanita Co-op is preferable to purchasing it at Whole Foods or other non-locally owned, non-independent businesses.

"Also think about value-added food products that are made locally, if applicable to your recipe. If these products also use locally-sourced food items, even better! Items you have grown or raised yourself are as local as you can get."

To enter the competition, send an email with the subject line Baking Competition Registration to saro@santafealliance.com by October 1. Include your name, city of residence, contact number and a very brief bio about you and why you love to bake and cook with local ingredients (a paragraph is sufficient). 

The registration fee is $10 (only payable if you are one of the 15 contestants who will be competing). The alliance will keep a waiting list in case of cancellations, so be sure to indicate if you are willing to be on a waiting list.
The other featured event during Eat Local Week is the Cook with the Chef Showdown, scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 13 at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market. George Gundry of Atrisco Café will take on Patrick Lambert of the Cowgirl BBQ in a chile and yak appetizer showdown a la "Iron Chef." 

Matt Yohalem of Il Piatto, Rob DeWalt, the New Mexican's food editor and chef Rocky Durham will judge the event, selecting an additional secret local ingredient based on what's available at the Santa Farmers' Market that evening. Whose cuisine will reign supreme? You gotta be there to find out!