Maine Farm to School Cook Off Competition held in Augusta

Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 6:39 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Getting students interested and excited about fresh foods could be the secret ingredient of an annual cooking competition.

It brings schools from all over the state together.

The Department of Education’s Walter’s Kitchen in Augusta was busy once again, and this time, it was for the final challenge for the Maine Farm to School Cook Off Competition.

“It’s exciting to see the three teams and the fact that the students and the adults are working together so closely to come up with a nice product and a nice presentation.” said Walter Beesley, Maine Department of Education.

Each team is made up of a student and a school nutrition professional. They work together to create the breakfast and lunch recipe for the competition, to later be presented to a judge.

“The kitchen is the biggest classroom in the school and every kid goes to that class. It is exciting to see this all come together and that the products are used from Maine farms and Maine farmers,” said Beesley.

The goal of the competition is to show healthier options for student’s breakfast and lunch programs in schools using local products. The competition also involves using beets and buckwheat, this year’s local challenging ingredients.

“Sometimes on Thursday in school, she would come, and we would plan it all out,” said Alain Lemesse, McMahon Tigers.

Lemesse started cooking with his family when he was a kid. He and his cooking partner, Alicia Smith, represent the McMahon Tigers. Together, they won the regional that qualified them to compete in the finals.

“I was so excited, but I had to hold my composure...but I was excited,” said Lemesse.

They also won the final challenge. Smith said she hopes to see more kids in the kitchen.

“I think the kids would enjoy the food that we cooked today,” said Smith, school professional.

Each recipe from the teams will ultimately be put together in a cookbook to be submitted to the schools. They are also available on the Department of Education website for anyone to use.

“I would like us all to remember that anything we try, we can succeed,” said Lemesse.

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