At a press party at Ocean Gateway on Thursday, the Convention + Visitors Bureau, host of the 5th Annual Harvest on the Harbor, announced the teams of students that will compete in this year’s new event, Cutting Edge: Culinary College Competition, a cooking event with a cause designed to introduce the next generation of culinary talent.  They are:
Team 1: Molly Jones, Leah Rothgaber, Kevin Ouillette, Marc Hill,
Team 2: Amanda Rack, Joe Lambert, Ensign Gerry, Audrey Carlson, and
Team 3: Toan Nguyen, Megan Manseau, Adam Robichaud, Nate Davies.

The student teams from Maine’s esteemed culinary program at Southern Maine Community College will compete for the title of Maine’s first Cutting Edge Chefs, as well as a hearty scholarship to help them reach their goals of epicurean success.  This seafood soirée will feature farmed raised salmon from True North Salmon, and the students will be coached and mentored by their idols who are some of Maine’s most noted chefs and restaurateurs.  Steve Melchiskey from USA Wine West will provide a sampling of wines designed to bring out the flavor of the salmon.
Emcee for the Cutting Edge event will be Michele Ragussis of the television show “Food Network Star.” “I am excited to be a part of an event that will help welcome the next generation of Maine’s culinary talent,” said Ragussis.
The Maine Lobster Promotion Council announced the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year All- Star Challenge.  Three chefs who participated in past competitions will compete for the title of Lobster Chef of the Year.  Attendees of the event will be able to vote on the People’s Choice.  New this year: a panel of judges will also make their choice for the Lobster Chef of the Year.
The chefs competing are:
Kerry Altiero, Cafe Miranda in Rockland,
Mackenzie Arrington, The Dutch in New York City,
Melissa Bouchard, DiMillo’s On the Water in Portland, and

The winner(s) will receive a check for $1,000 while runner(s)-up will receive $500.  Joe Hope from Constellation Brand Wines will provide an educational wine tasting from their portfolio which will be expertly paired to enhance the flavor of the lobster dishes.
Also new for 2012 is BBQ, Brews & Blues where top chefs will raise the art of grilling to new heights. Rubs, spices, and sauces take on new meaning with talented grill masters who’ll share their secrets, recipes, and techniques. Savory side dishes, Maine’s best craft beers, along with our talented brew masters and sensational music from the Ballroom Thieves will round out this not to be missed grilling extravaganza.
And there will be more star power on hand for the Top of the Crop Competition where four chefs will prepare a dish using local, organic, farm-raised beef, lamb, chicken, pork or venison.  Elliott Prag, chef instructor in the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Chef Training Program and public classes, will be the host of this event.  In addition to a career as a teacher, restaurant chef, caterer and recipe developer for Vegetarian Times, Elliott has spent many years working as a personal chef for clients in New York City.  He is also the author of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s blog, Blanched and Shocked.   The seated audience will start with an appetizer of cheese & bread, while watching the chefs demonstrate their cooking techniques.  The diners will taste the skillfully prepared dishes in four appetizer-sized portions while wine educator, Joe Appel, from Rosemont Market & Bakery will pour a diverse selection of expertly paired wines from So Po.

2012 Harvest on the Harbor has expanded to four days, and the line-up for the event includes:
Grand Tasting on the Harbor
Maine Lobster Chef of the Year
Top of the Crop: Maine’s Best Farm to Table Restaurant
Cutting Edge: College Culinary Competition
BBQ, Brews & Blues
Savory Samplings at the Marketplace
Event Sponsors include: Down East Magazine and WHOM 94.9FM