Inaugural Cook Off to honour local cuisine

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This year’s Copper Kettle Festival will feature a new event, one aimed at embracing the spirit of rural cuisine. The Copper Kettle Cook Off is being organized by Miriam Streiman of Maple Valley’s Mad Maple Country Inn, and will take place in the parking lot of the Creemore Kitchen, across from the brewery, from 1 to 4 pm.

The event will feature two teams made up of both celebrity foodies and locals, facing off against each other to create the best entrée with the same list of local ingredients and a dash or two of Creemore Springs beer.

Streiman has used her considerable clout in the media and hospitality industries to lure an impressive group of chefs and food folks to take part – though none are “ego types,” according to Streiman. “These are all people who have genuine connections to rural communities and are thrilled to be joining us in Creemore,” she said.

Emceeing the event will be Kevin Brauch, who hosted the show The Thirsty Traveller and has worked on Iron Chef America.

Team One will consist of Donna Dooher, cookbook author and owner of Toronto’s Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Alex Molitz, the executive chef at Toronto’s Farmhouse Tavern, and Gillian Flies and her daughter Ella Preston of The New Farm in Maple Valley.

Team Two will include restauranteur Rodney Bowers, who appears regularly on the Marilyn Dennis Show, Tanya Kelly of Blunt Roll Aprons, Paul Van Staveren of Stayner Rental and his daughter Karen.

Judging the team’s creations will be cookbook author Bonnie Stern, Creemore Springs production manager Bryan Egan, Caesar Guinto of Creemore Kitchen and Wendy Jeffries of the Clearview Stayner Foodbank.

Those judges will crown one of the teams the “Copper Kettle Cook Off Winner,” but there is another award up for grabs – the People’s Choice Award. Beginning at 4 pm, tastings from each team (and voting ballots) will be available in exchange for a donation to the Clearview Stayner Food Bank.

A large group of local volunteers are working to pull this event off, not the least of which are Tubo and Tyler Kueper of Glencairn’s Iron Butterfly Blacksmithing, who are donating custom grills, harvest tables and awards, in the form of “dinner triangles.” Produce is also being provided by the Clearview Community Garden.

“I’m so excited,” said Streiman, picking up some of that produce on Thursday morning. “It feels like we’ve created an event that belongs in this community.”

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