Local cooks square off in Julia Child cooking challenge

The competition is set for Thursday at 5 p.m. at Olive Marketplace and Cafe.


WALLA WALLA -- Aspiring local chefs will cook their best versions of Julia Child's renowned poultry dish coq au vin at Olive Marketplace and Cafe, all in support of charity.

Olive is hosting its second annual Julia Child Cook-Off on Thursday at 5 p.m., sponsored by the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation and the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.

The judge panel includes Damon Burke of Salumiere Cesario, Antonio Campolio from The Marc, Jake Crenshaw from Olive and T. Maccarone's, Jose Guitterez from CrossRoads Steakhouse, and Michael Kline of Walla Walla Bread Co.

Trevor Dorland, who won the cook-off last year, will also serve as a judge. He and teammate Cindy Hurlbutt took first place for their version of boeuf bourguignon, another Julia Child classic.

Spectators can purchase tickets for $15 and will receive Crenshaw's version of the coq au vin, along with a glass of wine.

The winners will receive prizes and their dish will be featured in Lifestyle Magazine.

Jennifer Northam, events and public relations manager for the downtown foundation, helped organize the event.

For both the foundation and Lifestyles staff, the film "Julie and Julia" served as an inspiration. In that film, an aspiring young chef works her way through every dish in Julia Child's first cookbook, while blogging about the experience.

"We were looking for a mid-winter event and the idea of using the talents of our local amateur chefs, plus the discerning palates of our amazing local chefs really caught our imagination," Northam said.

Northam said she enjoys the judging of the contest.

"I love watching the chefs' judging process - seeing their expressions when they taste each dish, the way they close their eyes to savor the flavor, the conversations they have with each other as they move around the table. It's fascinating," she said.

Proceeds from the event will go toward Summer Dance Lab's dance outreach program, which includes putting on its dance festival.

Tickets are for sale at the Destination window on Main, Book & Game Co., or at the door.


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