Using Local Ingredients
Chefs participating in the cook-off have restrictions regarding space, utensils, and time. However, says Duane Legg, chairman of the West Virginia Culinary Federation and one of the 2010 cook-off judges, “Every chef is limited only by his or her own creativity.”
Chef Tim Urbanic of Café Cimino in Sutton has been a participant or judge at every Cook-Off. He is a past winner of the Best Use of Appalachian Produce award. At Café Cimino, Urbanic and his wife, Melody, and son, Eli, go to extra lengths to use locally raised products in their menu items.
“Because Appalachia is so large, the choices are many,” Urbanic says. “At Café Cimino, we try to obtain foods raised as close to home as possible. It takes some extra work and research to do a good job of it, but we have fun. We also feel good about searching out mom-and-pop businesses that raise organic foods.”
These observations on the Cast Iron Cook-Off® are excerpted from New Appalachian Cuisine® The Cast Iron Cook-Off®, an article by Travis Vandal in Wonderful West Virginia, published by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
Travis Vandal is a seventh-grade English teacher and writer who traveled to all 55 counties in West Virginia in 2008. A photograph book of his travels is in the works.
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