Trophies glimmered, skillets sizzled and guests were enamored at the 2017 KY Lamb Jam Cook-Off held on August 26, 2017 at the newly refurbished Red Mile Race Track. The 9th annual event was nothing but spectacular as five teams of Lexington Sullivan University Culinary students battled to create the most delicious and well-presented lamb rack dinner for three culinary experts.
The pressure was on as each team of two students chose from a variety of spices, produce, cheeses and oils from a mystery basket to accompany their half rack plates. The stakes were high as the winning team received not only trophies and American Lamb Board aprons and market bags, but also a $1000 scholarship sponsored by the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Council.
2017 Lamb Jam Cook-Off winning recipe!
The judges for the event included Sandra Noble-Canon, President of Bluegrass Harvest Community Ventures and Tanya Whitehouse, Program Manager for the Food Connection.
The delicious half racks were provided by Eileen O’Donohue of KyLamb. Eileen is going into her 8th year raising lamb for the consumer looking for quality homegrown lamb. She raises a commercial hair sheep using both a Dorper and a Katahadin ram. She likes different aspects of both breeds but especially like the mix. She currently has just under 100 breeding ewes and lambs 2-3 times a year which is an advantage of the variety of sheep she raises. KyLamb is available at several restaurants in Lexington including the Ouita Michel family of restaurants, Stellas Deli and the Athenian Grill. She also delivers custom cut whole and half lamb for individuals freezers. She loves being a part of the lamb jam cooking contest because the students at Sullivan are so serious about putting out a quality meal with lamb and the presentations are all so deliciously different! Eileen says that lamb has been her life since moving to Kentucky and she has met some of her best friends here through customers and other lamb raisers.
KSWPA began this event eight years ago in an effort to increase the awareness of American Lamb to future chefs in our state and to consumers. Very often, the students in the contest have never had experience cooking with lamb and even sometimes eating it! The Lamb Jam Cook-Off is a wonderful opportunity for student chefs to get hands-on experience in both. KSWPA provides the Lexington Sullivan University American Lamb Board foodservice materials prior to the contest to help students better understand the basics of lamb nutrition and preparation. Many students who graduate the program serve in local restaurants and report cooking American Lamb in their restaurants. In fact, the reason the 2017 KY Lamb Jam Cook-Off was held at The Red Mile Racetrack is because the head chef is a Sullivan University graduate. Guests of this year’s event were also exposed to a variety of lamb information. Sullivan University conducted a lamb fabrication demonstration while the student chefs prepared their plates. All guests received American Lamb Board information on the nutritional benefits of lamb, how to prepare it and where lamb can be purchased. Guests were able to watch the student chefs and ask questions regarding preparation techniques. They were also provided samples of lamb from Four Hills Farm.
Kale Salad with Red Wine Vinegertte
Wash and cut kale
In a bowl add red wine vinegar
Season with salt and pepper whisk together
Add oil whisk until emulsified
Combine with kale
Garnish with apricot
Defabricate lamb (French chop)
Season with salt and pepper
Add tyme, oregano, and garlic
Grill lamb medium-rare (145 degrees)
Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into the individuals chops
Tanya, who started her culinary career with Quita Michel, now educates students, faculty, staff, and the public about cooking, local seasonal food, and food systems.
Red Mile Race Track
Thank you to the sponsors of the Kentucky Lamb Jam Cook-off!
Battonet carrots (1/8 X 1/8 X 2in.)
Add small amount of water to cover the carrot
When simmering add maple syrup and honey
Salt and pepper to taste
When carrots are tender removed
Purple russet potatoes
Boil salted water
Once tender slice in half
In a sautee pan add bacon rendur the fat out
Add oil and sautee the potatoes until crispy on the outside
Sprinkle salt immidently after
Sandra works to fill infrastructure and programming gaps within local food economy with strategies that secure small farmer financial stability and reach into low income populations with local food access and equity.
2017 KY Lamb Jam Cook-Off Winners!
From left to right, Bill Decker, President of the Kentucky Sheep and Wool Producers; Chef Walls, head chef instructor at Lexington Sullivan University; Megan Farley, winner; MyKole Miller, winner; and Christina Robinson, Student Life Coordinator Lexington Sullivan University.
Megan and MyKole received American Lamb Board aprons, market bags and lamb food service information. They also received ribbons and a $1000 scholarship sponsored by the American Lamb Board.
Their winning recipe is below!
Boil chicken stock
Let simmer for 5-8 minutes then let stand for 15 minutes covered
Season salt and pepper to taste
Add green peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes and basil
Crumble feta cheese on top