Casual Mess Hall

Hot young professionals and top chefs shake up the camp scene: Forget that bland camp food

Hot young professionals and top chefs shake up the summer camp scene

Ben McCullough, from left, Sarah Mullins, Bobby Jucker with his team and Jessica Nimon at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Ben McCullough, from left, Sarah Mullins, Bobby Jucker with his team and Jessica Nimon at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
Whitney Mears, from left, Mark Montgomery, Kathi Mosbacher Wheeler, Freda Montgomery, Katie Mears and Sandy Parkerson at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Whitney Mears, from left, Mark Montgomery, Kathi Mosbacher Wheeler, Freda Montgomery, Katie Mears and Sandy Parkerson at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
Kirk Bruce and Laurie Bruce Maddox, from left, Beth Bruce, Pat Sorrells and Jack Maddox at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Kirk Bruce, from left, Laurie Bruce Maddox, Beth Bruce, Pat Sorrells and Jack Maddox at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
Chef Danny Trace from Brennan's
Chef Danny Trace from Brennan's at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Courtesy photo
Jessica Nimon, from left, Pat Sorrells, Pat Schaefer and Sarah Mullins at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Jessica Nimon, from left, Pat Sorrells, Pat Schaefer and Sarah Mullins at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
Three Brothers Bakery preparing the winning s'mores cupcakes at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
A member of the Three Brothers Bakery team preparing the winning s'mores cupcakes at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
Jason Bernhardt, from left, Justin Whitley, Brett Berly and Kellen Scott at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Jason Bernhardt, from left, Justin Whitley, Brett Berly and Kellen Scott at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
Joe and Courtney Peterka, from left, Zach and Brittany Powell, James Behanick and Amanda Brand at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Joe and Courtney Peterka, from left, Zach and Brittany Powell, James Behanick and Amanda Brand at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
Chef Randy Evans of Haven serving mac n' cheese frito pie at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Chef Randy Evans of Haven serving mac 'n' cheese Frito pie at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
Terri Huddler-Hull and Lucy DiNunzio buying raffle tickets from Annie Powell at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Terri Huddler-Hull, left, and Lucy DiNunzio buying raffle tickets from Annie Powell at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
Artisan's take on Mac n' Cheese at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Artisan's take on mac 'n' cheese at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Photo courtesy of Camp for All
S'mores Parfait from RDG+Bar Annie
S'mores Parfait from RDG+Bar Annie at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge. Courtesy photo
Ben McCullough, from left, Sarah Mullins, Bobby Jucker with his team and Jessica Nimon at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Whitney Mears, from left, Mark Montgomery, Kathi Mosbacher Wheeler, Freda Montgomery, Katie Mears and Sandy Parkerson at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Kirk Bruce and Laurie Bruce Maddox, from left, Beth Bruce, Pat Sorrells and Jack Maddox at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Chef Danny Trace from Brennan's
Jessica Nimon, from left, Pat Sorrells, Pat Schaefer and Sarah Mullins at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Three Brothers Bakery preparing the winning s'mores cupcakes at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Jason Bernhardt, from left, Justin Whitley, Brett Berly and Kellen Scott at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Joe and Courtney Peterka, from left, Zach and Brittany Powell, James Behanick and Amanda Brand at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Chef Randy Evans of Haven serving mac n' cheese frito pie at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Terri Huddler-Hull and Lucy DiNunzio buying raffle tickets from Annie Powell at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
Artisan's take on Mac n' Cheese at the Camp for All Culinary Challenge November 2013
S'mores Parfait from RDG+Bar Annie

Oh, to relive those carefree youth days of summer camp: The friendships, the bonfires, the bucolic setting, but surely not the cafeteria-esque bland food, right?

Leave it to the young professionals that champion Camp For All to organize a soiree of adventurous cuisine that added much sophistication to typical camp fare. "Culinary Camp Challenge," chaired by Jessica Nimon and Sarah Mullins, transformed Winter Street Studios into a casual mess hall in which eight local chefs fixed their own versions of mac 'n' cheese and s'mores.

It was up to guest campers to vote for their favorite and an expert panel of judges that included CultureMap gourmand authority Eric Sandler, food writer Kathi Mosbacher Wheeler and Camp For All staffer Ben McCullough to weigh in.

 Bobby Jucker's winning recipe consisted of a crumbly chocolate cake, iced with marshmallow buttercream and topped with a chocolate covered graham cracker.

After much cheese, chocolate and graham crackers were consumed, the wild boar chili mac 'n' cheese served classic Texas style in a Fritos bag from Haven chef Randy Evans ruled the day. Brennan's chef Danny Trace turned heads with his oysters Rockefeller mac 'n' cheese and Artisans chef Jacques Fox enticed with an unlikely pairing of salmon and gooey goodness. Bacon and ham lovers swooned over Hilary Purcell Catering Co.'s rich blend of meat and melted yumminess.

As for the sweets, those who had room in their tummies had trouble finishing the Texas-sized s'mores cupcakes from Three Brothers BakeryBobby Jucker's winning recipe consisted of a crumbly chocolate cake, iced with marshmallow buttercream and topped with a chocolate covered graham cracker.

Not far behind were RDG + Bar Annie chef Elliot Kelly for his elegant s'mores parfait, Le Mistral chef David Denis for his alluring s'mores mille-feuille and Cove Cold Bar chef Jean-Philippe Gaston's warm concoction assembled onsite.

In a food coma after raising $30,000 were Katie and Whitney Mears, Jamie and Nolan Moulle, Taylor McDaniel, Way Denkler, Jordan Kerensky, Jaclyn Popeil, Liz and Robert Rigney, Brittany and Zach Powell, Courtney and Joe Peterka, Jason Bernhardt, Justin Whitley, Brett Berly and Kellen Scott.