A Sunday tradition for many families became the centerpiece for a competition on Sunday with Jamestown Now's inaugural Great Jamestown Sauce Off.
Competitors were invited to enter their best sauces into the event to be judged with categories for best meat sauce, best vegetarian sauce and fan favorite.
"We worked with the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation to put this all together and they helped by providing us with the space," said Vanessa Weinert, Jamestown Now committee member. "Julie Scheira's (another Jamestown Now committee member) family has a sauce competition every year and we thought that it would be fun to bring it to Jamestown so that anyone could compete. We want to make it an annual event, so this was our "tester" for it to see how it turned out."
Taste-testers are pictured at the Great Jamestown?Sauce Off in the Wintergarden Plaza, Jamestown.
P-J?photos by Ryan Atkins
Weinert also said that Jamestown Now would be planning other events over the course of the year to bring more people into the city.
"Everyone is always talking about how great Jamestown was in the past, or how great Jamestown is going to be in the future, but we want to focus on the fact that Jamestown is pretty great right now," said Weinert.
At the competition Sunday in the Wintergarden Plaza, the site of the former Wintergarden Theater, were 10 sauces for guests and judges to sample, as well as pasta and fresh bread.
Peachy Sampson of the former Cooking with Peachy and Elaine television show, was one of the judges on hand for the tastings.
"It was a very nice event that they put together," she said. "All of the sauces were delicious, so it was hard to pick a favorite. I think that if they do it again next year, they'll have an even better turn out than they did this year, too."
The five judges were all brought cups of the 10 sauces. Judging was based off of five categories and the sauce with the highest score overall was to be crowned the winner.
Andrew Palermo, a chef from Moonbrook who has previously worked at The Ironstone, The Scallion Bistro and Olive's was also on hand as a judge.
"This whole event was just a blast and I really hope that they do it again," said Palermo. "I hope that they do it on a Sunday again if they continue this next year, too. People came out here with their families to enjoy downtown, which is the way that it should be."
When asked about the competition, Palermo said there was a lot of talent present among the sauces, but he still had his favorites.
"There was one in particular that really stood out to me," he said. "I don't want to tell you and ruin the surprise, but it was just a really well balanced sauce. The first thing that I want to be able to taste when I'm eating a tomato sauce is the tomato, and this sauce did a great job at letting it stand out."
Debbie Anderson, first place winner for the meat category, said she entered in memory of her mother Chicky Marucci-Dunham, who passed away six years ago. Mrs. Anderson said she used her mother's recipe.
"If she were still here today, she would have entered the contest without a doubt," she said. "I wasn't going to, but then my sister convinced me that I should and I wanted to do it for my mom."
Rounding out the winners were Roger Rhinehart, a chef at Forte who took first place for best vegetarian sauce, and Dan Bracey, who won the award for the "fan favorite" sauce.
For more information about Jamestown Now and future events that the group will be planning, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JamestownNow