Agency’s Celebrity Chef Challenge raises over $30K for programs, services

Spectrum Generations’ 10th annual Celebrity Chef Challenge fundraiser was held Sept. 19 at the Augusta Civic Center. From left are Sous Chef Keith Giles with Chef Ben Ramsdell, culinary coordinator and chef educator for MaineGeneral’s Peter Alfond Prevention & Healthy Living Center; Chef Edward McGregor, The Front Room (Portland) with Chef’s Assistant Ashley Crosby; and Chef Shaun Killeen, The White Duck Brew Pub (Manchester) with Sous Chef Stacia Fish.

Three local chefs went head-to-head Sept. 19 at the Augusta Civic Center, competing in Spectrum Generations’ 10th annual Celebrity Chef Challenge fundraiser.

Chef Edward McGregor of The Front Room in Portland received the Judge’s Choice Award, and Chef Shaun Killeen of the White Duck Brew Pub earned the People’s Choice Award.

Ben Ramsdell, culinary coordinator and chef educator from MaineGeneral’s Peter Alfond Prevention & Healthy Living Center in Augusta, also created an inspiring dish that did not disappoint, according to a news release from Lindsay MacDonald, community engagement director at the agency.

As winner of the Judge’s Choice award, McGregor’s dish — beef tips with squash puree, red flannel hash, seared watermelon steaks and jalapeño pepper sauce — will be incorporated into Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels program. Beef tips and watermelon were required ingredients for each dish, and all were required to follow Meals on Wheels standards and nutrition guidelines.

One hundred twenty-five guests attended the fundraiser in addition to numerous sponsors that helped raise more than $30,000, a new event record for the organization. The paddle auction was specifically a standout this year, raising $12,250 among several donors that attended the event.

“These funds will have a direct and immediate positive impact for older adults and adults with disabilities that are homebound and facing food insecurity. Incredibly, almost $10,000 worth of in-kind support was also donated by way of food, silent auction items and other goods and services. We couldn’t do our important work without this caring community of supporters,” said MacDonald.

Those who made this event possible and successful this year, including staff, volunteers, and community members, included special guest emcee Connor Clement of MaineLife Media and sports reporter for ESPN. It also included this year’s panel of judges: Heidi Parent, previous contestant on Hell’s Kitchen and CATC Culinary Arts Instructor; Monica Castellanos, owner of Maine Local Market in Hallowell; and Ehrin Simanski, owner of Lisa’s Legit Burritos in Gardiner and Augusta.

Celebrity servers included Matt and Lizzy from 92 Moose, Cindy Stevens of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce and Shawn Forkey, kitchen manager for the Alfond Youth & Community Center.

All proceeds will support Spectrum Generations’ programs and services, including Meals on Wheels, which utilizes staff and volunteers to prepare and deliver approximately 6,910 meals each week to 1,382 homebound older adults and adults with disabilities in communities throughout Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Somerset and Waldo counties, and the towns of Brunswick and Harpswell in Cumberland County.

Top celebrity chef meals from left are Chef Shaun Killeen’s dish (People’s Choice Winner): Sweet and smoky grilled beef tips with thyme roasted delicata squash, maple bourbon balsamic and caramelized onion; chipotle red potato with fire roasted red pepper coulis; roast beet salad with apricot nectar white balsamic, styrian pumpkin seed oil and pickled watermelon rind; and smoked watermelon glass. Chef Edward McGregor’s dish (Judges’ Choice Winner): Seared watermelon steaks, beef tips, squash purée, red flannel hash (beets, potatoes, onion), and jalapeño sauce. And, Chef Ben Ramsdell’s dish (titled “En ‘Root’ to Autumn”): Cured beef with onion soubise, roasted local vegetables and watermelon apple salad. Submitted photo

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