Extreme Culinary Arts
May 18, 2012, by MCE
Extreme Culinary Arts
May 18, 2012, by MCE

Hidden Valley Camp hosts an extensive Cooking Program in what was once the camp’s main kitchen facility. Campers make use of professional equipment as well as recipes from all over (offerings have included Greek Cuisine, Southern Cooking, Vegan Recipes and more). And of course these young people and their instructors have access to loads of food!

As you can imagine, with everything from olives to chocolate in the inventory, by day’s end, we are never quite sure which ingredients will be in plentiful supply and what items might be on the list for the next shopping run.  The last culinary class of each day is Iron Chef, inspired by the TV show, and a great means to use up any items which the kitchen has in too great a quantity.

This last class of the day is divided into two teams of four campers, each with a counselor/instructor to assist.  These groups have 60 minutes to create something with the kitchen’s excess avocado, coconut, lemon, Swiss cheese, or noodles.  And then their proud moment arrives when they present their creations to the entire community at camp meeting here prior to dinner.  And who is the lucky person who samples each of these daily delights? Why none other than me, the camp director!

The group announces the “secret ingredient” and then it’s time for me to sample their creations and pick the day’s winner.  Over the years, I have stood in front of the group and had the pleasure of eating improvised sticky buns and stir fries, puddings and pies, tacos and taffies, many of them quite tasty and a tribute to the clever, creative staff and campers at Hidden Valley.

Finally, the last day of the session comes along when cleaning out the campers’ large walk-in fridge is an even more crucial task. On that day, Iron Chef campers create “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly,” three food items in plentiful supply to be eaten by all the key staff at camp.  We are asked to guess ahead of time which item is which.  It’s a piece of cake (haha) to sort out the “ugly” offering initially but only our poor suffering taste buds can determine which items are meant to be “good” or “bad.”

All in a day’s work and generally more pleasant than a pie in the face!

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Copyright © 2018 Maine Camp Experience