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Firefighters show culinary talent in Axed Cooking Competition

Joe Polenzani, Station 5, won Round 2 with his dish of chicken pot pie, broccolini and pumpkin cornbread. Photos by Brandy Blanton
 
Todd Wilson, Station 1, won Round 3 with his dish of Cajun chicken pasta.
 
Brian Vick, Station 2, won Round 1 with his dish of fish tacos
 
The inaugural Axed Cooking Competition featuring the Franklin Firefighters sponsored by Southern Exposure Magazine stirred up a tasty mix of food, fellowship and a bit of a culinary competitive edge last week at Fire Station 1, Hwy 96 West.
 
The three-day competition showcased the culinary talents of firefighters from pork loin stuffed with goat cheese and spinach to chicken piccata, broccolini and pumpkin cornbread. The three winners from each night will advance to the Axed final competition in November, which will be aired on Franklin TV and quite possibly open to the public. 
 
A calendar relating to the event will also be published. Proceeds will benefit the Franklin Firefighters association, IAFF #3758.
 
When Franklin Alderman At Large Brandy Blanton, also publisher of Southern Exposure Magazine, accidentally showed up at the wrong Franklin firehouse (Station 3) as part of a visit for the City of Franklin, she decided to hang out for a while to see how the firefighters spent their days.
 
“They invited me to stay for dinner and Brian Brandon made Chicken Cordon Bleu from scratch. It was then that I had an ‘Ah Ha’ moment that firefighters are great cooks. I realized how much time firefighters spend at the firehouse as a second home and how much they sacrifice for our safety. I wanted to do something to benefit them.”
 
Last Tuesday night, Brandy Demastus introduced the “fanciest” dish of the night – a pork loin stuffed with spinach, sundried tomatoes and goat cheese. Meanwhile, Brian Vick introduced his spicy, chipotle “Turbo” sauce with green chilis and “a lot of other ingredients” to top his hearty fish tacos, – which earned him a victory in the first round of competition, and have already been a hit at firehouse dinners at Station 2.
 
The contestants range from novice cooks to self-proclaimed foodies – many of whom are self-taught. Each contestant has 30 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to cook their dish to be judged on taste, presentation and creativity with a possible 10 points for each criterion. A perfect score would be 30 points. 
 
The panel of judges each evening is made up of two local restaurateurs or caterers as well as one “regular joe” selected from a social media campaign in partnership with the City of Franklin. Panel of judges include: Suzette Lane, Catering by Suzette, Nick Pelligrino, Mangia, Jay Hislop, Chuys, Tim Ness, Cool Café, Wes Alexander, Nashville Pizza and Ryan Pruitt, Frothy Monkey.
 
Vick, took the win for round one Tuesday night with a combined score of 77 points. Joe Polenzani, Station 5, prevailed as the winner for Round 2 on Wednesday with his preparation of chicken pot pie, grilled broccolini and pumpkin cornbread with honey butter. Todd Wilson, Station 1, reigned as winner for Round 3 with tasty Cajun chicken pasta.
 
 

Posted on: 9/25/2013

 
 

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