All it took was a butternut squash, some bacon and a whole lot of experimentation and Team Emily Knapp was the winner of 2012 Communities Choosewell Provincial Iron Chef Championship.  Knapp qualified in a Junior Entry with Kassidy Doonanco at the Bonnyville and District Ag Society contest during rodeo.  She was given chicken gizzards, salt pork and kohlrabi and advanced to the Provincial Comeptition held in Edmotnon on October 27.

But from there, things got a little complicated.  The Bonnyville organizers decided to break up the Junior and Adult team and head to Edmonton with just one entry.  However, the adult competitor backed out and Knapp’s partner was committed to a volleyball tournament leaving Knapp without a team.  So, enter Dad.  Daryl promised Emily that he would stand in as the consummate sous chef and he would take her to Edmonton.  Daryl, who confessed he has done very little cooking in the past… except for the occasional breakfast…jumped in to support his daughter who is an aspiring chef.  Emily is constantly going through cookbooks and trying out new recipes.  Even as a youngster she was always trying out new recipes on her family.

This weekend it all paid off.  Teams were given two main ingredients in advance for the competition.  But even that didn’t really work out.  The week prior, the competitors were contacted and told that they were no longer cooking bison and rhubarb due to the difficulty in finding fresh ingredients.  The exceedingly unflappable Emily went back to her nightly routine of practicing recipes and trying them out on whoever came through the door.

Emily prepared a butternut squash with a combination of bacon and onions and spices stuffed in a miniature hollowed out pumpkin.  Her dessert was a delightful apple strudel cake.  Team Knapp each won a set of pots and mixing bowls and a cash prize.  Emily was thrilled with wearing the chef coat and winning the coveted Iron Chef plaque.  The Grade 11 honour student from Glendon School plans to pursue cooking in post-secondary school and is already collecting the tools of her trade.

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