Chefs turn Girl Scout cookies into gourmet dishes

Stephanie Barthold of Magpies shows off a cupcake inspired by Samoas, a Girl Scout cookie. Yum!

Stephanie Barthold of Magpies shows off a cupcake inspired by Samoas, a Girl Scout cookie. Yum!

Never underestimate the creativity of our area’s chefs. Seriously. Just throw a challenge out there to them and they will rise to the occasion. Biscuitfest wants everyone to compete for the best biscuit recipe? They are all in! The Farmers’ Market wants chefs to use local ingredients to make unique alcoholic drinks? No problem. In fact, the chefs did that stunt every summer month for two years. The latest challenge: create sweet and savory dishes using different kinds of Girl Scout cookies!

That was the premise of Cookies and Cocktails, a Girl Scout fundraiser held last Friday at The Emporium on Gay Street. A group of local chefs were asked to come up with recipes based on Girl Scout cookies. During a reception, guests tasted all the dishes (while sipping wine or special signature cocktails) and then voted on a People’s Choice winner. Meanwhile, guest judges (basketball player Dane Bradshaw, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, and Mary Constantine, the News Sentinel‘s food writer) made the official awards determination.

I fully agreed with the judges’ decisions: For sweet, they selected Coolato Gelato, which brought Thin Mint gelato. And the savory prize went to Knoxville Catering and Special Events, which featured chicken breaded in Savannah Smiles lemon cookies. The folks at Chez Liberty took the People’s Choice award for their pork belly bites with a sauce based on the cookies called Do-Si-Dos. There was a lot of creativity on display that night!

Here’s a glimpse of the evening:

Booth Kammann, left, CEO of Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians, with Lucille Griffo, who held a similar position before she retired a few years ago.

Booth Kammann, left, CEO of Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians, with Lucille Griffo, who held a similar position before she retired a few years ago.

Chef Jeffrey Alejandro of The Crown & Goose preparing braised alligator tostados with Tagalong mole sauce. Based on Tagalong cookies, of course!

Chef Jeffrey Alejandro of The Crown & Goose preparing braised alligator tostados with Tagalong mole sauce. Based on Tagalong cookies, of course!

Congressman John Duncan Jr. with his daughter-in-law Hallie Richards Duncan, who works for the Girl Scouts.

Congressman John Duncan Jr. with his daughter-in-law Hallie Richards Duncan, who works for the Girl Scouts.

Chef Jesse Hood of Knoxville Catering and Special Events with the chicken breaded with Savanah Smiles lemon cookies, which took the prize for best savory dish.

Chef Jesse Hood of Knoxville Catering and Special Events with the chicken breaded with Savannah Smiles lemon cookies, which took the prize for best savory dish.

Here is a close-up of that chicken.

Here is a close-up of that chicken.

Andrea White, left, and Linda Davidson enjoy the festivities.

Andrea White, left, and Linda Davidson enjoy the festivities.

Tammie Conard of Coolato Gelato shows a sample of her Thin Mint gelato, which took the prize for best sweet dish at the event.

Tammie Conard of Coolato Gelato shows a sample of her Thin Mint gelato, which took the prize for best sweet dish at the event.

A bunch of cupcakes from Magpies

A bunch of cupcakes from Magpies

Chef Austin Wood of Echo plates smoked duck breast confit with cranberry compote and creme fraiche. His dish made use of Thank You Berry Much Girl Scout cookies.

Chef Austin Wood of Echo plates smoked duck breast confit with cranberry compote and creme fraiche. His dish made use of Thank You Berry Much Girl Scout cookies.

Alan Carmichael, left, and Zane Duncan

Alan Carmichael, left, and Zane Duncan

Judy and Bill Vaughan

Judy and Bill Vaughan

Music was by the Old City Buskers. Fun!

Music was by the Old City Buskers. Fun!

News Senitinel food writer Mary Constantine samples a signature cocktail called a Savannah berry martini. She liked it!

News Sentinel food writer Mary Constantine samples a signature cocktail called a Savannah berry martini. She liked it!

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee samples the other signature cocktail, a Thin Mint martini.

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee samples the other signature cocktail, a Thin Mint martini.

This pork belly bite was by Chef Robert DeBinder of Chez Liberty.

This pork belly bite was by Chef Robert DeBinder of Chez Liberty.

The sauce for the pork belly included Girl Scout cookies called Do-Si-Dos as an ingredient!

The sauce for the pork belly included Girl Scout cookies called Do-Si-Dos as an ingredient!

Helen Harb casts her vote in the People's Choice category.

Helen Harb casts her vote in the People's Choice category.

Gay Lyons in the midst of sampling

Gay Lyons in the midst of sampling

Hahaha! The entry from Nama looked like sushi! It made use of Thank You Berry Much cookies.

Hahaha! The entry from Nama looked like sushi! It made use of Thank You Berry Much cookies.

Nancy Bowen, left, and Mary Fran Darwin

Nancy Bowen, left, and Mary Fran Darwin

Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson

Jeannie Dulaney, left, and Beth Hamil

Jeannie Dulaney, left, and Beth Hamil

It was a great crowd.

It was a great crowd.

Congressman John Duncan, Jr., with his wife, Lynn

Congressman John Duncan Jr. with his wife, Lynn

Knox County Trustee John Duncan III and Jennifer Rhodes

Knox County Trustee John Duncan III and Jennifer Rhodes

From left Rosa Mar, Lucille Griffo and Celeste Herbert

From left Rosa Mar, Lucille Griffo and Celeste Herbert

5 Responses to “Chefs turn Girl Scout cookies into gourmet dishes”

  1. Great event–very creative of the Girl Scouts to come up with it and the chefs to rise to the challenge.

  2. I was impressed with how many of the attendees had been girl scouts and the food was quite creative. I especially liked the pork belly creation so much so that my belly is now bigger . I look forward to next year’s inventive recipes.

  3. Great seeing you all there, Gay and Rosa! It was a fun start to the weekend, wasn’t it?

  4. Hope they do this event again next year…..amazing how creative chefs can get when given a challenge…and such a fun idea….thanks for telling us about it, Cynthia, so we can go next year!

  5. The Girl Scouts may need to find a bigger hall next year. I predict more chefs and more guests. I love it when a group puts on an event that is different. The tie in with the iconic cookies was brilliant.

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