By: Hadley Barndollar, Seacoast Online
When traveling to a faraway cooking competition, unexpected surprises are never good. That’s why chef David Vargas will bring pots, pans and blenders on his flight to Louisiana this weekend.
As owner and chef of both Vida Cantina and Ore Nell’s BBQ, Vargas will tout his signature charred and smoky flavors at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans Saturday. He’s one of 12 chefs competing from around the country, and he will present his creative, creamy dish to a panel of judges.
The prize if he wins? “A crown and bragging rights,” he laughed.
Vargas began his career in food at his family’s Mexican restaurant, and then in the kitchens of chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier at Arrows and MC Perkins Cove. He chose to stay in New England, and became chef/owner of Portsmouth’s Vida Cantina in 2014. Then, in 2018, he opened Ore Nell’s BBQ on Badger’s Island in Kittery, a Texas-style barbecue eatery.
The well-known chef has been involved in the New Hampshire Community Seafood program for the last few years, which is essentially community-supported agriculture, but with fish. Vargas and his restaurants buy into the shares at the beginning of the season, and receive local fish each week to serve fresh. He’s been a “big supporter” of the program since it began, he said.
When the Louisiana Seafood Association reached out to New Hampshire Community Seafood about a Granite State chef who may want to participate in the competition, they recommended Vargas.
By: The Common Man Family
The Common Man family in New Hampshire is hosting its 13th annual charitable Winnipesaukee Wine Festival featuring samples of more than 100 wines, beers and spirits from around the world to benefit Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains’ leadership development programs for girls.
A partnership between The Common Man Family of Restaurants and Martignetti Companies of Northern New England, the festival takes place on Thursday, June 28 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. in the Winnipesaukee Ballroom at Church Landing on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith. The event is sponsored by Meredith Village Savings Bank, with promotional support from Minuteman Press in Plymouth.
Featuring wine, craft beer and spirits from local, national and international producers, the event includes a VIP room in the Carriage House at Church Landing, offering exclusive wines and a commemorative glass. Tickets to the VIP room are $125, which also includes access to the Grand Tasting. Tickets to the Grand Tasting are $75 in advance and $85 at the door, while supplies last. Purchase tickets online at http://bit.ly/winniwinetix2018, at Lakehouse Restaurant in Meredith, or by calling (888) 474-9686. Space is limited and advanced tickets are suggested.