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Taylor Director of Dining Services Hopes to Win Upcoming Food Fight

LACONIA — In just over a week one of Taylor's own will be hundreds of miles away embroiled in a fight. Luckily Amanda Cobern will enter that confrontation armed with an arsenal. Her executive chef background will serve her well as she takes on "The Food Fight." Sponsored by Kraft Foods and Morrison Food Services, the competition pits two East Coast chefs against two West Coast chefs.

Amanda was recently chosen to represent her region – consisting of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island – in the upcoming challenge.

In order to win the semi-finals, Taylor's Director of Dining Services was tasked with taking three Kraft products along with a "mystery basket" of other foods and preparing two dishes within 70 minutes. Amanda knew ahead of time the three products would be A-1 Steak Sauce, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Gray Poupon Mustard.

"The cream cheese was the hardest thing to work with," she said. She tried to think about different applications she could tweak when the time came.

"Seventy minutes seems like a lot of time, but once you get working, it goes pretty fast," she said. She finished with just 34 seconds to spare. Amanda's first creation was Beet Napoleon. She sliced and seasoned beets, layering them with cream cheese, herbs and crispy bacon over an arugula salad with Grey Poupon vinaigrette.

The second round of fare was roasted pork tenderloin with A-1 seasoning. The pork was sliced thin with an A-1 barbecue and placed over risotto made with coconut milk, cream cheese and ginger over wilted spinach with mustard vinaigrette.

"I couldn't believe it when they called my name," she said happily. Amanda heads to San Diego to compete in the March 19 finals. "We know we'll be using the same three Kraft products for the finals, but we have no idea what the other components will be."

Having never been to California, she's excited to be visiting the West Coast and plans to take a few extra days to meet up with family members. The competition will take place in the Sony Building, part of the Compass Group, which owns Morrison.

Asked if she had a "food philosophy," Amanda said, "When you like to cook, you have a style you tend to revert to. I enjoy Asian food, so I go to that."

Her children, 11-year-old Robbie and 8-year-old Pearl, are opposites when it comes to their food tastes. "Pearl likes mac and cheese and simple things," she said. "Robbie is more of a food critic and enjoys the occasional foie gras."

Amanda said the finals will be streamed on the Web so her family, friends, staff and Taylor residents can watch. "My staff is a huge part of what I do. Each one of the 24 people is different and unique and all combine to make a winning team," she said.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 March 2014 06:24

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Center Harbor Church scholarship applications

CENTER HARBOR — The Center Harbor Congregational Church, UCC, will again offer scholarships this year to graduating seniors going on to College, Jr. College or technical school. All completed applications must be received in the church office by April 15, 2014.

The UCC will be offering up to two scholarships of at least $500 to students who are residents of Center Harbor, and to two students who are from either Meredith, Moultonborough or Sandwich.

A copy of the current application is available at Inter-Lakes High School and Moultonborough Academy guidance offices. Those interested in applying may also contact the church office at 253-7698 to request an application.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 March 2014 10:47

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Steep Canyon Rangers & Della Mae at Silver Center March 28

PLYMOUTH — The Silver Center at Plymouth State University presents a double bill of great traditional and progressive bluegrass by two of the most awarded and respected groups around when Steep Canyon Rangers and Della Mae come to Plymouth at 8 p.m. Friday, March 28.

Steep Canon Rangers won the 2012 Best Bluegrass Grammy for their album Nobody Knows You, and was named 2012 Entertainers of the Year by the International Blue Grass Music Association. Their nimble instrumental agility, tight harmony vocals and inventive songwriting is sure to make their recent album of original songs, Tell the Ones I Love a top hit as well. Examiner.com says "True bluegrass, when done well, is a thing of art and the Steep Canyon Rangers are the genre's current Rembrandt." Sample their sound at steepcanyonrangers.com.

While headlining festivals like MerleFest and Bonnaroo alongside the wide and crazy banjo player Steve Martin for part of the year, the Rangers continue to perform along as a quintet on radio, television and national stages (Steve Martin will not appear for this performance). With smooth vocals, smart songwriting, ferocious instrumentals and jaw-dropping harmony, the Rangers are beginning bluegrass to music lovers across the US and internationally.

It hasn't taken Della Mae long to become a sensation in the music world. Commanding a powerful collective chemistry with vocal, instrumental and songwriting talent to spare, the Boston-based combo mines time-honored elements to create music that is unmistakably fresh and contemporary. Della Mae proves again and again the endless possibilities found in the tried-and-true marriage of fiddle, fretboard and voice. Their lineup is a collection of promising young pickers: lead singer Celia Woodsmith, guitarist Courtney Hartman, bass player, Shelby Means, mandolinist Jenni Lyn Gardner and two-time National Fiddle Champion Kimber Ludiker are all seasoned performers who have won countless contests and shared the stage with the likes of Willie Nelson, Del McCoury, Leon Russell and Laurie Lewis.

Tickets for Steep Canyon Rangers and Della Mae in the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center are $35-30 for adults, $33-28 for seniors and $20-15 for youth.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 March 2014 10:44

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Circus at Laconia High School tonight raises funds for junior prom

LACONIA — The Laconia High School Junior class will be hosting the Mike Naughton's Yankee Doodle Circus on Friday, March 14. Two performances will be take place in the Laconia High School gymnasium one beginning at 5:15 p.m. and the other starting at 7:30 p.m.

The circus will feature a spectacular show of magic, tricks, and feats with dog shows, jugglers, acrobats and more.

Cost is $18 for adults and $6 for children at the door. Tickets purchased online in advance are $14.75 for adults, and includes two free tickets for children under the age of 14. To purchase tickets online visit www.getcircustickets.com. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Laconia High School Junior Class prom.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 March 2014 10:36

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