Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mac n' Cheese Bake-Off

by Shane Smith, Outreach Coordinator
The Granite State Dairy Promotion and New Hampshire dairy farmers hosted New Hampshire’s third annual Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Off held Jan. 19 at the Courtyard Marriott in Concord. Over 800 people showed up to cast their vote and make the attempt to visit all of the 28 contestants. Contestants included restaurants and individuals who entered dishes in one of four categories: best traditional, most creative exotic, best restaurant/cafĂ© or best New Hampshire made. Contestants entering the New Hampshire Made category must use 100 percent New Hampshire-made milk and cheese in their dish. The Co-op has participated in the Bake-Off since its inception. 

Chef Mike with his 2013 trophies

For the last two years the Co-op has taken first place in the best restaurant category with Chef C’s Mac n Cheese (Chef Mike Cook’s creation).  Chef John has likewise entered every year in the exotic category and last year won third place. Their dishes often appear on the hot bar on Fridays at the store.  Although Chef Mike’s dish was entered into the Best Restaurant competition it could easily have also been entered into the Local Dairy category as well.  Chef Mike uses raw cheddar cheese from Brookford Farm in Canterbury and cream and milk from Bartlett Farm in Concord.  Chef John likewise used local ingredients with the addition of Ol’ Catywumpous Ale from White Birch Brewery in Hooksett for his Beer Mac. More than half of New Hampshire’s working dairy farms send milk to Cabot cheese-which also goes into both Chef Mike’s and Chef John’s dishes. Entries in all categories were judged on texture, taste and overall cheesiness

Granite State Dairy Promotion is a Non Profit 501(c)5 organization funded by New Hampshire dairy farmers. The Mission of Granite State Dairy Promotion (GSDP) is to increase the sale and use of milk and other dairy products through promotional activities, nutrition education, and to enhance the image of the dairy industry in New Hampshire.
Below is the Chronicle Episode about the Mac n Cheese Bake Off.  Chef Mike's gives away a few trade secrets as well.