Eat Your Plate Meets Harvest on the Harbor | Blogs
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to be the dessert chef at the "Lobster Chef of the Year" event that is being held at Harvest on the Harbor. The moment I was asked, I was filled with joy and excitement, completely astonished that I would be invited anywhere considering I am so new to the food scene. Luckily for me, the aesthetic of my website allows people to have confidence in my abilities. Once the initial feeling of excitement subsided, the nervousness began to set in and ever since I have been a bit of a basket case. The dessert has to be blueberry in nature and for me, that poses a little bit of a predicament since I don't love blueberries completely on their own. And because of this, I don't frequently use them in my baking unless it's a pie or a tart. This led me to have a bit of writer's block when it came to building a recipe which then caused me to sit on my computer at two in the morning googling "blueberry" just to find some sort of inspiration. See, for me, this is a make or break it moment. Although the event is catering to a smaller audience, it's filled with people who really love food. Maybe even as much as I do. And, it's a great way to gain some exposure which for a new small business, is everything.
Harvest on the Harbor is a fantastic weekend food fiesta filled with all sorts of culinary treasures. The marketplace, which is held on Saturday the 22nd of October is an array of vendors willing to offer you all their savory treasures as well as delicious wines from all around. Last year was my first experience at this food and wine festival. My mother in-law, who is always surprising me with presents that exactly fit my personality, gave me two tickets for my birthday. I could not have asked for anything better. I spent the day wandering around with my husband, nibbling and drinking the best local items found in Maine. Now, aside from the marketplace there are a series of events that go on throughout the weekend. The "Lobster Chef of the Year" event is on a Friday afternoon and features three extremely talented chefs whom I absolutely admire. My role in the day is to present my dessert in front of the 200 person audience, plate it and then hand it out to everyone so that they may end their day with a little something sweet. Am I scared? Absolutely. Following up these gentleman is going to be quite an endeavor but true to form, I think I have figured it out.
All of my cooking is straight forward in nature. I don't like to make things too complicated. The more you tangle up a recipe with complicated ingredients, the harder it becomes to figure out what you are actually eating. To me, it makes more sense to use a few star ingredients than a whole bunch of mediocre ones and blueberries are definitely little itty bitty stars, ones that explode on your tongue when you eat them in a well done dessert. When thinking of the solution to my problem I was seeking out ideas that would not hide the complex qualities of this locally treasured fruit while still giving food lovers something to rave about. What I really want is for people to walk away savoring the last morsels of the little bite that I shared with them. I also want to impress upon people that I understand the dynamic of the environment I am cooking in and that means respecting the sacred blueberry.
The end result was cook books all over my coffee table, all over my kitchen table, a four layer cake that I wanted to make to test the texture which everyone enjoyed, countless recipes written down and revised, my poor husband running for cover, my children praying I would figure this out so they could have their lives back and of course, the prize of all prizes, a dessert that I truly think will make people swoon. After two weeks of pacing back and forth, scratching my head and making over three hundred homemade Oreos for a wedding, I have figured out the largest puzzle of my life. I think, well I hope, that I have something that really compliments one of Maine's most sought after items. This Friday night I am hosting a small dinner for some old and new friends and I will unveil my idea to them so that they can provide me with some feedback on the direction I am currently going. My only wish is that I get to them before the wine does, seeing as though everything tastes better after a little white and red. Regardless of the turnout, I am pleased about being included in such a majestic event. It truly is an honor to be a part of something so grand. And, on top of that I get the pleasure of feeding strangers, one of my most favorite things to do. I know that during this experience I will meet new people, share something I have worked hard on and of course, spread the word about something I am very proud of: Eat Your Plate.