"It was W.A. Bean & Sons red hot sausages," said Todd Chasteen, Flik executive chef. "We put it into our Cioppino, an Italian-style seafood stew. It was a no brainer to throw it in there."
Before the stew, Chasteen whipped together a Johnny cake, a cornmeal pancake, made with sauted Brussels sprouts and Raye's Mustard for the judges to eat. And for dessert, he created a brown sugar pound cake with a Backyard Beauty tomato and strawberry marmalade.
"There was some pressure being on the home team, since the company I work for is a third party contractor. We supply the food service on campus for the students," explained Chasteen. "But I was looking at it [the competition] as it was me on a personal level doing it."
And when it came to presentation, creativity and flavor, Chasteen won over the judges' palates and their votes.
"It was pretty awesome. We had a good time," he said.
Now Chasteen's Maine Chef Challenge Top Chef 2013 trophy sits atop his kitchen TV, a constant reminder of his hard work and contribution to the college's culinary arts program.
"We went out for celebratory drinks that night," Chasteen said. "Now it's back to work."