Chopped Competition – The Lowell Food & Wine Festival

Judging the 2nd Annual Lowell Chopped competition was an opportunity I couldnt pass up, both as a help to Made in Lowell and because it gets my creative juices flowing as far as cooking and flavors. Along with the other judges, I was able to taste delightful, savory, sweet and unique dishes done by four incredible chefs. An experience that won’t soon be forgotten and I am excited to share with you all.

Think for a moment, think of rich Greek sausage (which was the secret ingredient) being made in  four different ways, by four different and talented chefs in four very different dishes. Think of Thai Basil Pesto and homemade pasta, of crunchy, tart asian slaw topped with a voluminous scallop, of tostadas topped with scallops and a pomegranate molasses glaze and of crunchy vegetables topped with a juicy steak, impeccable crema & slighty spicy salsa. These were the flavors that greeted my palate at Derby Park on Middle St in Downtown Lowell.

The four chefs were: Chef Joe Gatto, author of “Seriously From Scratch” and host of tv show “From Scratch: The Show“, Chef Andrea D’Angelo from Taste Buds Kitchen N. Andover, Chef Craig Furgal of Gormley’s Cafe in Lowell, and Chef Scott Pelletier of Fuse Bistro in Downtown Lowell.

The five judges were: Deb Belanger executive director, Greater Merrimack Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau , Celeste Pence youth judge, Steve Perez, DJ at Magic 106.7, Doug Sparks, Managing Editor at Merrimack Valley Magazine and myself local food and everything else blogger.

Host was Jenny Johnson, local Emmy award winning TV celebrity and Nick Speros also a local chef, egging the crowd on!

Filled with friendly competition, banter between the chefs, and the crowd cheering it made for quite a memorable event. In the end after much deliberation and savoring each dish, we decided that Chef Joe Gatto and Chef Craig Furgal would be the winners with their incredible dishes. Their usage of the secret ingredient and all the flavors around their dishes were complex and exhilarating and made you want more.

My afternoon was made after this event, the community came together to have fun and really show what Lowell is all about. We have so much going on locally and this was one of those events you could really get behind and support. Looking forward to the rest of this year!

Chopping it up – Life as a Maven






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