Cooperative Extension Nutrition Resource Educator Mo Tidball and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at the Culinary Tent in 2013.    Photo by Darlene Duprey

Celebrate Commemorate is pleased to spotlight home cooks and Finger Lakes chefs at the culinary tent in Lafayette Park. The program is organized by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Seneca County.

“The Culinary tent is a great resource to learn about foods grown and produced locally in Seneca County and the surrounding Finger Lakes area,“ said CCE Executive Director Ave Bauder. “The public is invited to taste delicious samples, while getting new recipes and nutrition tips.  Also this year we have two different competitions.  A venison chili cook-off on Saturday for all of the wild game hunters as well as sportsmen’s clubs and on Sunday a Jr. Iron Chef completion.  Check it out!”

CCE’s 4-H Youth Development Resource Educator Rachel Williams is especially excited by the Junior Iron Chef competition, modeled after the TV show “Chopped.” It will be held from 1-3 on Sunday. “We are looking forward to our first Junior Iron Chef contest at Celebrate\ Commemorate.” said Williams.  “We want all aspiring chefs to come and join us in the challenge of combining cooking skills with thinking on your feet!”

Youth will be provided Festival food and will be asked to reinvent their food item into healthier and tastier recipes, using some pantry items, local foods, maybe a surprise or two, and their own culinary creativity!  All ingredients and cooking tools and supplies will be provided. Up to 4 Teams of 3-5 middle school and/or high school students can participate and must pre-register by contacting Rachel, or 315-539-9251 at Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Youth do not need to be existing 4-H members in order to participate.  Top scoring team(s) will be invited to participate in the NYS 4-H Jr. Iron Chef contest at the NYS Fair.

Mo Tidball, Seneca County CCE’s Nutrition Resource Educator and scheduler for the Culinary Tent is equally excited by the Venison Chili Cook-off on Saturday.   “We have lots of deer hunters in our area and great sportsmen’s clubs in the county” noted Tidball, who is also author of the Wild Harvest Table Website.  “Both categories of cooks are encouraged to come on Saturday afternoon with their favorite venison chili recipe.  There will be great prizes for the winners as well as bragging rights!”  Contestants need to register by May 23rd by contacting the office.

The schedule is:

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

10:00AM- 11:00AM:  Good Morning Smoothies with Eat Smart New York!

11:00AM- Noon:  Farm to School!  Cornell Cooperative Extension is working on two grants in Seneca County and the Finger Lakes region from USDA and NYS Department of Ag & Markets to bring more local produce into school cafeterias.  Come learn about this exciting program and sample some Farm to School recipes.

Noon-4PM: Cheese, Glorious Cheese!  Two area cheese producers will be at the Culinary Tent during the afternoon to talk about cheese making, cheese pairings, and offering samples.  Stop by, and bring some home too!  We will also be cooking up a number of different fondue recipes featuring cheese and local beverages.

Noon-2PM: Heaven Scent Farm Creamery -So what makes a jack cheese a jack?  Find out from this Finger Lakes cheese producer and sample their signature Heavenly Jack, Devilish Jack, or Dill-licious Jack cheeses.

2:00-4PM:  Sunset View Creamery- This century farm hosts the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival every summer.  Learn about this great event and try their amazing cheeses, made from milk only from their Holstein herd.

3:00PM:   Get your Game on with tasty venison preparation tips and tastings from the creator of the Wild Harvest Table website, Mo Tidball.

3:30- 4:30PM- Inaugural Venison Chili Cook-off!   Entries must be pre-registered with Seneca CCE (539-9251) and brought hot to the Culinary Tent between 3:30-4PM.

4:00PM- judging begins for Venison Chili Cook-off. Competitors will include members of Sportsmen’s Clubs, personal cooks and professional chefs.

4:30 PM- Venison Chili winners announced!  Prizes awarded to top two individual winners and top two club winners.  1st prize is $100, a trophy, and bragging rights.  2nd prize winners receive a gift basket compliments of Bass Pro Shops in Auburn, NY and some bragging rights.  Winners will also have their recipes published on the Wild Harvest Table website.

Sunday, May 29, 2016th

10:00AM:  Start your Day with a Healthy Breakfast!  Learn some new recipes and tips to start your day right.

11:00AM:  How to Shop at a Farmers Market. Learn tips on shopping at a Farmers Market and try some recipes using farm fresh produce from the Finger Lakes!

Noon: Chef Mary Kay Reed will be cooking up a tasty sample from her fabulous restaurant in Ovid, Taste of Wine Country.

1:00PM-3PM:  Junior Iron Chef Competition open to teams of Middle and or High School Students.  Watch youth repurpose vendor food from the festival into something different and earn an opportunity to go on to the state fair.

3PM-close: Cooking with Kids- Learn some recipes that kids can help create and will love to eat!