Golden Basket event lets chefs show off their work, local produce at Boalsburg Farmers Market

Otto’s Pub and Brewery walked away with a Golden Basket Tuesday afternoon.

The restaurant’s chefs may not have had a fancy name for their cuisine, but they came out the winners of the third annual Boalsburg Farmers Market Golden Basket Awards.

Cooks Jake Bahr, Alex Guralnick and Steve Spanelli’s “grilled chicken picnic,” was made with grilled zucchini and chicken mixed with an international potato salad, topped with a squash dip.

“It’s delicious on a plate,” Bahr said.

Farmers Market manager Tony Sapia said the annual event is a way to bring a friendly competition between local chefs to the public.

“We push hard to promote local,” Sapia said. “We reach out to local chefs at local restaurants who use produce right from the Boalsburg Farmers Market.”

Participating restaurants included Elk Creek Café and Aleworks, Nittany Lion Inn, The Village at Penn State, Kelly’s Steak and Seafood, Penn State-Altoona, Otto’s, Carnegie House, American Ale House and Sichuan Bistro.

Even the judges were local.

They included Port Matilda resident Jamie Oberdick, editor of a local food blog, State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, Michele Marchetti, a local food writer and member of Friends & Farmers Cooperative, and Kevin Kassab, a State College health officer.

“It’s nice to be on this side of things because I’m usually on the health end of things,” Kassab said.

During the event, members of the public were able to sample foods, interact with the chefs and get recipes.

“That’s what the nice thing about this is,” said chef Zach Lorber, of Penn State-Altoona who was handing out recipes. “You can interact with people and hand out your recipes, and point and show them where the produce came from.”

All the chefs in the competition used local produce right from the Boalsburg Farmers Market.

Sapia said the event attracted more than 1,000 people, and he’s already thinking of next year’s event.

“Each year, it’s growing and growing,” he said. “We started out with four chefs and are always learning something new.”