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Fresh Eyes Column

by Caroline Downs

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Top Shot Chef sensation . . .

Posted 10/29/13 (Tue)

I can’t help it. I have to rhapsodize a little.

The Kenmare GooseFest Top Shot Chef Showdown was a hit, and if you missed it last week, put it on your calendar NOW for next GooseFest.

Oh, there are some details to be tweaked, certainly, as there are in any first-time event. The chefs need more space, and the entries should probably be grouped by category: soups, salads, pastas, vegetables, main entrees, etc.

And the voting procedure certainly needs to change. I think the tickets handed out to the public were a good start, but given crowded conditions in the Hall, the committee needs to devise a more efficient way to collect the tickets and count the votes.

I know of individuals who didn’t or couldn’t vote that night--and I know several GooseFest Committee members are already brainstorming ways to resolve the issue.

But that can all be fixed. The big successes of the night, in my opinion, were the number of teams participating and the food they prepared.

The entries came slowly. Larry Nore was keeping track of those, and the week before GooseFest we were a little nervous about relying on our backup plan rather than showcasing the fine cooks in the region.

However, those cooks stepped forward. When I saw the list, the diversity amazed me.

Farmers, hunters, business and professional people, stay-at-home moms, young adults, senior citizens, parent-child teams and rivals, newcomers and longtime GooseFest volunteers--all serving up one of their best recipes with humor and hospitality.

The menu--a random mix of entries chosen by the chefs--couldn’t have been more perfect. Two soups, two salads, a filling pasta dish, and then everything from grilled meats and kabobs to fish tacos and brats. Something for every palate, from hearty homestyle to gourmet.

Some diners may argue the traditional GooseFest apple pie and ice cream were the highlight of the evening. Those folks could be right.

I had my favorites, of course, although choosing just one proved difficult. The delicious pheasant egg rolls...oh, but the meatballs, corn on the cob and potato served on a stick crowned by a tiny pie for dessert...wait, that succulent Cuban mojo roast pork and black beans.

Just writing this makes my mouth water, and then I smile all over again thinking about the nearly 400 people who came, including just the right mix of children and elders, new and longtime residents, visitors and Kenmare natives.

You couldn’t write a recipe for a better community event.

Speaking of recipes, maybe the next step is to create a cookbook of Top Shot Chef recipes? I really want to make those egg rolls.