The West Tisbury Young authors, in the middle school at the West Tisbury School, write weekly about experiences on the Island. Madia Bellebuono is in the eighth grade.
I have participated in the Wild Food Challenge for the past four years; one year I partnered with my fellow classmate Violet Cabot. The event takes place all around the world in six different countries — and it even happens on Martha’s Vineyard.
“Wild Food” is a cooking challenge where competitors incorporate as many wild ingredients (local or foreign) as possible into their very own dish. The dish may include locally grown items such as vegetables, but the goal is to get the dish as wild as possible.
The first year I participated, I made a wild rabbit ragu with homemade cavatelli and a garden salad. My family and I brought my dish to the Wild Food Challenge’s location at the Rod and Gun Club. (The Rod and Gun Club is in a beautiful location in Edgartown, overlooking Sengekontacket Pond.) Competitors have the choice of preparing a dish at home and bringing it to the location of the Wild Food Challenge, or finishing it on site where there is stove-top space and grills along with food prep areas. I prepared my dish at home and then brought it to the Rod and Gun Club.
There are two divisions: grownups and kids. I was in the kids’ division, so I entered my dish and enjoyed tasting and viewing all of the other amazing, crazy, wild dishes that everyone else had prepared. The winners of the kids’ division were announced, and I was surprised to hear my name called because all of my fellow kid competitors had prepared amazing wild dishes.
The next two years, I won first place again. The third year I won third place. Just this past year, one of my talented competitors, Violet Cabot, and I decided to team up and go for the win again. Together, we made a rabbit ravioli with a wild watercress salad, dressed with a wild beach plum dressing. We entered it at the Wild Food Challenge’s new location at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs. They announced the winners and our work paid off — we made it to second place.
The Wild Food Challenge is a fun, entertaining experience, even if you have no experience in the kitchen. It is a way to get you out into nature and to think about the many wild foods you can cook with.