This Annual Maine Event Will Make You Feel Like Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay
Chef Gordon Ramsay Shows
If you ever watch any of Chef Gordon Ramsay's shows, whether it's Hell's Kitchen, MasterChef, Next Level Chef, or even any competition ever on Food Network, there's one thing in common that you'll notice.
All of the prepared meals look super fancy and like a small serving, but it looks delicious watching Gordon or any of the Food Network show judges cut into that little plate of deliciousness and taste test it all, right?
Earlier this morning, for the first time ever, I went to an event in South Portland that made me feel like Chef Ramsay judging a batch of chefs on Hell's Kitchen -- and it was literally the most delicious way to start the day.
Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off
For over a decade, the Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off has been the official kickoff to Maine Restaurant Week. For a couple of hours the morning before Restaurant Week starts, a group of Mainers lucky enough to snag tickets before they sell out gather at the Sea Dog Brewing Company on Broadway in SoPo for one reason:
Rate and taste deliciousness created by local chefs.
Today's Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off was extra special because it was the first one in three years, with the last one being held in 2020 right before the world shut down.
If you've never been, the whole premise is multiple restaurants/chefs from across Maine all set up a table and prepare one menu item. It can be anything from what's basically a creme brulee donut to a crab cake or even a spin on a bagel and lox. Your job is to select the best.
When you first walk in, you're given the menu (which is super important for people like me who have to deal with food allergies) and three tokens (which are basically poker chips.) Then it's basically like an open buffet.
You walk up to the different tables and generally the chefs and staff from the restaurant will give you a full-out breakdown of exactly what you're picking up off their table and walking off with. (It's very much a "Today, I have prepared for you..." moment like on a Food Network competition.)
And that's what happens as you float from table to table, picking up whatever treat participating chefs and restaurants have prepared and bringing it back to wherever you've posted up to chow down.
After you've hit every menu item and without a doubt create a food baby (seriously though, it's like the Thanksgiving of Breakfast), you vote for your three favorites and before everyone leaves, the Top 3 winners are announced.
But honestly, that's not even the coolest part about this entire event.
Preble Street in Maine
If you didn't know, Preble Street is a nonprofit that has one mission -- ending food insecurity and hunger in Maine. And basically, as CBS 13/FOX 23 mentioned in their coverage of the event this morning, the Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off not only serves as the kickoff to Maine Restaurant Week, but also as a fundraiser for Preble Street.
So, at the end of the day, sure -- today, Mainers like myself get to feel like spoiled big deals and eat delicious food to start their day. But by doing that, we're helping Preble Street take one step closer to crushing hunger in Maine, and that's what really matters out of all of this.