If you've watched too many Hot Pockets ads (in which ravenous teenagers pop the frozen snacks in the microwave rather than actually cooking), the term "teen chef" might seem self-contradictory. Yet on March 12, high-school senior Paul Warren of Mill Creek wowed a panel of judges at the Art Institute of Seattle to claim the regional title of Best Teen Chef—and a shot at a full scholarship to an Art Institute culinary program, to be awarded following the May 14 national Best Teen Chef competition in Philadelphia. While all eight Seattle contenders had to prepare the same menu (shrimp cocktail, chicken chasseur, broccoli sauté, and rice pilaf), Warren distinguished himself through careful seasoning and outstanding sanitation skills. He emerged the victor despite losing points for using an unsuitable dish for the cocktail—the regulation dish "cramped his style," according to AIS spokesperson Kelly O'Neill.
With the USDA's newly revised dietary guidelines calling for nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day, Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) are in higher demand than ever. It's easier to be good when the goodness is delivered to your door, so CSA is the perfect program for any health-conscious Washingtonian. And this is the week to learn more about these programs by attending a couple of different events. On Thursday, March 24, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. BALLE Seattle (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) will host their second annual buffet dinner at Community Living Room in the Essential Chocolate Factory (call 206-323-5575 for more information). The dinner will feature all locally grown foods and will provide the chance for the public to actually meet local farmers and organic distributors. Then on Saturday, March 26, from 1 to 3:30 p.m., Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center will host an open house where the benefits of consuming locally grown food are to be discussed, the film Broken Limbs: Apples, Agriculture, and the New American Farmer will be screened, and various agricultural groups will be represented to take questions and comments. For more information call 206-386-4231.
It's not every publisher who can set two new lows with just one book, but HP Books (an imprint of Penguin) has done it with its Half-Baked Gourmet series. (Yes, that's what it's called; we don't make up things like that.) First, blatant movie-style product placement sullies the ingredient lists—cooks are instructed to use not just "smoked turkey" but "Applegate Farms smoked turkey," Cascadian Farms frozen broccoli, Hillshire Farms kielbasa, and no fewer than three branded unsalted butters (Trader Joe's, Organic Valley, and Land O'Lakes). And let the cook beware who dares to use Darigold instead. "The recipes in this book are to be followed exactly as written," reads the small print; "Neither the publisher nor the author is responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision, or for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book." Never mind; we're sick already.
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