Farm to school cooking competition heats up in Hampden

HAMPDEN, Maine (WABI) - Students and food service staff from all over Maine took part in a heated competition at Hampden Academy.

"This is our second regional farm to school cook off. It's exciting. I mean, it's just a lot of fun. The teams really get into it," said Stephanie Stambach, a child nutrition consultant with the Maine Department of Education.

"It's exciting," said Lucy Berry, a sixth grader at Cherryfield Elementary School.

"To be able to do this and experience it with Lucy is just amazing," said Patricia Beal, a food service director for Cherryfield Elementary School.

Organizers say the cook-off is a way to recognize school nutrition staff and students for their skills while promoting food that's grown, raised, caught, or made in Maine.

"Being involved with something hands-on like cooking but also increasing the awareness of local products and what that means as far as taste goes and also what that means for the local economy," said Stambach.

Each team made two meals within a certain amount of time, breakfast and lunch.

Locally-sourced ingredients like what food service staff use at schools on a regular basis.

"I think it enhances the food and the kids at our school get a great experience and get to try stuff that they've never tried before," said Beal.

Winners from today and a cook-off that took place in Bath last week will face-off later in the year.