Thousands gathered on a recent Saturday morning at Chicago’s Green City Market at the south end of Lincoln Park as Kendall College School of Culinary Arts students Sabrina Martindale and Marco Bahena created a two-course meal from a “mystery basket” of ingredients. Each student walked away with top-menu honors and a $250 scholarship.
The Kendall students competed against two-person teams from other local culinary training programs in Green City Market’s first-ever “locavore” cookoff on September 18 that focused on locally produced foods such as goat meat and cape gooseberries. Each team had to create two courses from scratch without existing recipes or knowing what the basket would reveal—in front of the watchful eyes of as many as 8,000 people. Local chef-celeb judges known for their “green” thumbs included Carrie Nahabedian of NAHA, Ryan Poli of Perennial and Sarah Stegner of Prairie Fire.
Instructor Peggy Ryan, daytime executive chef of The Dining Room at Kendall College, was impressed with the duo’s performance in the cookoff.
“The most challenging part was the 45 minutes to prep two courses,” she says, noting that Martindale and Bahena had 15 minutes to review the ingredients and decide what to cook with them. “That’s not a lot of time. But Sabrina and Marco did an incredible job.”
In addition to the cash scholarship, Martindale and Bahena each received a WÜSTHOF knife kit compliments of Northwestern Cutlery & Supply. For more information on Green City Market, visit www.chicagogreencitymarket.org.