Friday, September 24, 2010

aetna and food network's healthy food fight

Aetna, along with the Food Network and The Culinary Institute of America, are sponsoring a “Healthy Food Fight” and they recently made a stop at the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival on September 11 and 12, as part of their 10-city cooking contest challenge.

The Aetna Healthy Food Fight is detailed as a cooking contest that’s making its way across the country to promote healthy eating and healthy cooking. People from all over the Delaware Valley recently submitted healthy recipes for a chance to bravely battle-it-out at the local 'shroom festival, with the weekend's winner being lucky enough to fly to LA for the finale with Bobby Flay.
Lucky for Chester County locals, Food Network's sassy star, Sunny Anderson, was one of the judges spouting her opinion at the recent weekend fest, aside WC Dish's Mary Bigham, cookbook author Cynthia Goch, Director of the Brandywine Chapter of Pa. Restaurant Association Dee Rogevich and myself. Not that any of us need a special occasion to lend our two cents on food creations, but we were honored to judge which local health-conscious concoction was worthy of conquering the finale all the way in California, and you can follow  here to see who was crowned the Philadelphia-based award-winning chef, plus recreate the recipe yourself. 

In our round of the healthy food fight, we sampled a four-plate lineup from home chefs, one of which included a Berks County resident, and detailed what we found best and of course, worst, in taste, texture and presentation.
While each local contender's plate boomed in one, if not all, of the categories, the dish that I found most impressive was the last platter of an Asian Market Salad with Quinoa, Watercress, Roasted Mushrooms and Pineapple, served with Toasted Sesame Oil Vinaigrette. Of course, as it must be told, this dish was prepared from my county's native, but it honestly was to me, the tastiest of the bunch. Light and refreshing, the garden-fresh assortment tackled pure sweetness and bitterness in one scrumptious swoop.

Also, not shy about honesty, that through the course of these health-conscious dishes, it seemed as though the go-to ingredient for the home chefs with the use of couscous and quinoa, which are both packed with nutrients, etc., although as seen below, we couldn't resist  afterward nabbing a mini-lamb panini (ashamed that it was not AT ALL healthy).
To read more about the national Healthy Food Fight, click here. Also, for more photos of the Kennett Square stop, click here.