Celebrate Dorchester highlights local cuisine

Dorchester banner/Paul Clipper The big winner of the evening was Tamara Jackson of T’s Divine Sweets, who served mini cheesecake bites that were exploding with flavor.

Dorchester banner/Paul Clipper
The big winner of the evening was Tamara Jackson of T’s Divine Sweets, who served mini cheesecake bites that were exploding with flavor.

CAMBRIDGE — The ninth annual Celebrate Dorchester food and restaurant celebration and competition was held at Governors Hall on June 5. Featuring ingredients sourced from local vendors and farmers, 13 local restaurants participated with a variety of seafood and “landfood” dishes designed to delight the attendees, who were also the “People’s Choice” judges in the competition.

Restaurants set up booths along the perimeter of Governors Hall, and served up small plates of their best, vying for the top award. Each attendee was given five large metal washers to use as voting tokens, and the competitors supplied a container at their booth. At the conclusion of the evening each booth’s container was weighed and the prize went to the highest weight — signifying the most washers, of course.

Seafood entrants included grilled oysters with pickled onion and bacon vinaigrette from Blue Point at the Hyatt, and herb encrusted fish with Caribbean sauce from Jimmie and Sooks. Ocean Odyssey offered herb butter grilled oysters over chorizo fiesta rice, and Palm Beach Willies made soft crab buffalo bites.

Land-based options included slider burgers on a brioche slider bun with cheddar cheese sauce and onion jam from The High Spot, and braised beef with fresh crab meat, Bearnaise sauce and asparagus salad from Mitchum’s; Rock Lobstah served sausage and kale soup with, potatoes and vegetables. Stoked Wood Fired Eatery made southern caesar salad with, julienne kale, black bean corn salsa, banana peppers and candied pecans, and Thaitalian Infusion Cuisine presented a chicken isolano with infusion of fresh pineapple and coconut cream sauce.
Waters Edge at the Hyatt created a jerk chicken with pineapple salsa.

The sweet stuff was well presented too, with chocolate ganache tartlets and key lime tartlets from Blackwater Bakery, and T’s Divine Sweets presented a peach cheesecake, and a vanilla bean cheesecake with warm apple compote. They also served small brownie squares, in case that wasn’t enough!

Also, Pizza Ziya provided a couple examples of their fine pizza, which came out as an appetizer before the tasting got underway.
In the end, it was the sweets that carried the day. T’s Divine Sweets won the first place People’s Choice Award vote with 4.5 pounds of washers. Miss T’s cheesecakes, both the peach and the hot apple, were out of this world. Her local ingredients were peaches provided by Emily’s Produce in Church Creek and eggs from Wilson Kids’ Egg in East New Market.

ThaiTalian Infusion Cuisine took 2nd place in the People’s Choice Award. Their Chicken Isolano with Infusion of fresh pineapple coconut tomato cream sauce, with a little kick of heat, served with Jasmine rice and a garlic knot was a big hit! Their local ingredients were chicken provided by Amick Farms in Hurlock and tomatoes provided by SunSeed Growers also from Hurlock.

Water’s Edge Restaurant from the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay was the 3rd place People’s Choice Award winner. Folks were quite excited about their Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Salsa. Their local ingredient was chicken provided by Amick Farms in Hurlock.

Other food purveyors included Hoopers Island Oyster Company, Kool Ice and Seafood, Great Expectations Farm, Madhouse Oysters, Lindy’s Seafood, Simmons Center Parket, Bartenfelder Farms, B&G Foods, and Wilson’s Kids Eggs.

The Dorchester Chamber also presented their annual scholarships to nine local students for their outstanding academic achievement. Kalifa Warren received the McDonald’s Scholar award. Morgan Biskach received the Care and Share Dorchester Scholar award. Isaiah Brinsfield, Allison Loeffler, Nathaniel Lowe and MeAziah Wilson received the George B. Todd Scholar award. Taylor Martin, Joshua Matthews and Devon Tyler received the Jason T. Wise Scholar award.

Celebrate Dorchester was a great success again and no one left the building hungry. All of the restaurants did an outstanding job and it was very hard for folks to decide where to place their limited five votes.

The Dorchester Chamber threw a great locavore party on Tuesday night, and they are already promoting Celebrate Dorchester for 2019 — which will be their 10th year. In celebration of a decade of fine eating, they promise an even bigger party next year.

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