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Cambridge: REI Camp Cooking Challenge

On July 28, 3 local area chefs battled it out on a grassy hill-top using only 1 local (and secret) ingredient.

The 3rd annual Camp Cooking Challenge was sponsered by REI and the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, hosted by Dane Tullock, Outreach Specialist, REI Boston and videographed by Jeremy from Studio603films.

Using REI's camping gear and fresh produce from The Food Project the chefs were challenged to serve two dishes to the judges using the red fish as their master ingredient. The judges were DAR commissioner Greg Watson, Editor of Northeast Flavor Magazine, Jean Kerr (whose current issue features Julia Child), Founder and President of Chop-Chop Magazine, Sally Sampson and Director of Food Initiatives , Edith Murnane.

The winners were Chefs Chris Douglass and Nuno Alves from Tavalo for their seafood risotto (I tried it, it was delicious!)

Coming in second was Chef Jay Murray from Grill 23 with Chef Patricia Yeo (from tv's Top Chef Masters fame and Moksa) coming in third. (I'm a huge fan of Top Chef so it was a pleasure to meet Chef Patricia Yeo).

Here, some highlights (my interview by Dane made it to my Instagram feed!)

Happy Birthday Julia Child!

The winning Chefs from Tavalo released their recipe, below (via

Summer seafood risotto

1 cup white wine
¼ cup salted butter, plus ½ tsp.
¼ cup onion, minced
¼ lb. chorizo, diced
¼ cup dried baby shrimp
2 cups Arborio or carnaroli rice
3 qts. fish stock, warmed
¼ cups grated fresh parmesan
¼ cup diced zucchini, caramelized

¼ cup diced eggplant, caramelized chopped scallions for garnish if desired
1. Saute onions and chorizo in butter til tender.
2. Saute rice briefly with onions and butter.
3. Add wine and stir constantly until liquid is reduced and almost dries.
4. Add fish stock ladle by ladle, stirring well between spoonfuls so liquid gets absorbed
5. Add zucchini, eggplant and dried shrimp (reconstituted with a bit of fish stock in advance of adding)
6. Continue cooking, adding small amounts of stock at a time.
7. When rice is al dente and creamy, finish the dish with the parmesan cheese and remaining butter. Sprinkle scallions on top. Serve hot.



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