Meg and Dan Athearn of Chilmark took home the grand prize at the third annual Martha’s Vineyard Local Wild Food Challenge, held on Monday, Oct. 8, at the M.V. Rod and Gun Club in Edgartown.
This year, 47 entries were submitted and judged by Billy Manson, event organizer; Albert Lattanzi, chef and owner of Lattanzi’s Restaurant in Edgartown; and Hal Ryerson, last year’s winner.
The Athearn’s winning meal consisted of three parts: a salad made with wild watercress with Katama grassland onions, steamed Jerusalem artichokes, and candied sedge grass nuts with autumn olive reduction; served with sedge grass nut encrusted venison sirloin on caramelized wild Katama grassland onions with beach plum reduction, Jerusalem artichoke purée, wild caught lobster, and Quitsa scallops. To drink, Ms. Athearn served sassafras and local honey ice tea and Russian olive ice cubes.
The husband and wife duo were the first non-professional chefs to win the Vineyard challenge. Their prize is a sail to Nantucket next fall aboard a 90-foot yacht.
Chilmark farmer and chef Chris Fischer won the Wildest Ingredient category by concocting braised wild squirrel stuffed with puffball mushrooms, chestnuts, and fennel, which was served with a salad of blueclaw crab, hermit crab, whelks, and fried seaweed, fennel fronds, watercress, lemon sorrel, and lemon juice.
For more information about the annual event, visit localwildfoodchallenge.com.