For our final day, we focused solely on our Mystery Box Challenge. We picked up some final items from the grocery store that morning. They Mystery "Bag" contained, Rotisserie Chicken, Baby Spinach, Blackberries, Puff Pastry and Chocolate; all items we had worked with during the week. Trader Joe's in One Loudoun donated an additional ingredient to throw a little more challenge in the mix... Fig Butter.
With the teams chosen, you could feel the excitement in the room as the campers received their bags and checked out what they'd be working with. They then met together and with guest judges and counselors and devised a plan for their main, side and dessert.
Now the cooking began! I've never had two and a half hours pass so quickly. Nor have I ever heard my name called so many times. But these miniature chefs pulled it together and did some amazing things. My photographer, Sarah Trussell, came in to document and capture the fun. Here are some photos of the prep below.
Then the presentations began. Each team described their dishes to our panel of judges, including Andrew Sample, Founder of Northern Virginia Foodies, Ginny Grivas of ChefScape, Blair Ellis of Sterling Restaurant Supply and Chef Jake Smith, my amazing dad and daily inspiration in life.
Two minutes until "Hands Up!"
Then the announcement of prizes and winners. Shout out and many thanks to all of the wonderful establishments who donated to make this so special for the kids. Trader Joe's, Sweet and Sassy, Sterling Restaurant Supply, Cobb Theater, Bowlero, Rocket Fizz and the support of the community at ChefScape, Rooted and Bloomed, Dana's Cake Shoppe and the Village at Leesburg.
Top Prize for over all Best in Show went to Team Ethan and Lauren with Best Dessert going to Team Allison and Nick and Best Main going to Team Taylor and Felicity. Other prizes such as Best Team Player, Best Table Setter, Best Listener, Cleanest Station, Most Enthusiastic and many more went out to all the campers.
One very important camper, I neglected to mention on the day was my daughter Felicity, who, at age 12, was helping me set up in the morning from 9:00 am-1:00 and then helping get everything cleaned up and unpacked from 5:00-7:30 each day. I also want to give a special thanks to my hardworking intern, Jonathan Gleason who was a little camera shy but worked tirelessly from 11:00-6:00 each day.
Until next summer.... Keep cooking and enjoying every minute of it!