By Jill Rothwell – Collegiate Staff
Grand Rapids Community College’s nationally recognized Secchia Institute for Culinary Education hosted the Advance Newspapers’ 25th Annual Incredible Edibles recipe contest Feb. 20.
A total of 24 contestants participated in eight categories, all competing for the grand prize, a $1,000 gift card from Broene’s Furniture in Allendale.
The newest category, “Simple and Quick” gave Grand Prize Winner Judy Devries-Wetters, of Belmont, the inspiration to enter her recipe for “Easy Pumpkin Soup.”
“I started entering this (contest) a few years ago because there’s just not a lot going on this time of year,” Devries-Wetters said. “I can make this soup at home in 15 minutes. Even if you don’t win it’s the best potluck you’ll ever go to.”
Veteran contestants had the support of a family member or friend in preparing their dishes and presentation. The display element did not count towards the judge’s decision, however the participants clearly spent time creating the setting and theme for entries.
Contestants (and sisters) Suzanne Goodnough and Linda Prihoda both won for their respective categories (Appetizers and Salads, Soups and Stews).
“This event is fantastic. I told my sister I don’t care if I win, it’s the fact we are doing this together,” Goodnough said. “All year we are gathering recipes, hoping we don’t end up in the same category competing against each other.”
Secchia Institute Adjunct Instructor Kymberli Flanagan, one of three lead judges, acknowledged the support of the second year culinary students Sarah Pepper, Jacqui Bumstead and Lynae Bleeker.
“These ladies are donating their time for this event as the ‘go-to’ people for whatever the contestants need help with,” Flanagan said.
“I feel really privileged to be here,” Bleeker said about GRCC’s culinary program. “It’s the best kept secret in the community college culinary field.”
Justin Stermin, local chef and partner in Kitchen Sage, was also one of the lead judges on hand.
Kitchen Sage is a Culinary Leadership Academy to build life skills for Grand Rapids youth, teaching budgeting, planning, teamwork, accountability, character development, resourcefulness and leadership in a fun, food-centered atmosphere.
“It’s cool to be a part of the community and spread the word about Kitchen Sage,” Stermin said. “I invited Ellie (Haun) to teach our students her Banana Bombs recipe.”
MLive reporter Jeffrey Cunningham rounded out the list of lead judges for the competition.
Next year’s contest date has yet to be finalized with GRCC. Incredible Edible entry forms will be available in the Advance Newspapers in December.
Grand Prize Winner
Simple and Quick:
- Very Simple Pumpkin Soup by Judy Devries-Wetters, Belmont MI
- Cheesy Zucchini and Onion Flatbread by Suzanne Goodnough, Grand Rapids MI
Breads, Muffins & More:
- Caprese Bread by Susan Olthof, Grand Rapids MI
Salads, Soups & Stews:
- Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza with Champagne vinaigrette dressing by Linda Prihoda, Grand Rapids MI
Breakfast & Brunch:
- Chorizo Breakfast Burrito by Sylvia Saucedo-Devries, Walker MI
- Scallop and Corn by Melissa Venlet, Grand Rapids MI
Vegetables & Side Dishes:
- Cheddar Bacon BBQ Meatloaf Muffins by Ilda Percini, Grand Rapids MI
Cakes, Pies, Cookies & More:
- Cinnamon Apple Crumb Cake by Markia Kastelz, Allendale MI
Honorable Mention (new category):
- Banana Bombs by Ellie Haun, Grand Rapids MI