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Local restaurants win awards for Girl Scout cookie creations

April 16, 2014

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Prime 29 Steakhouse head chef Haiying Bushey stands with the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan after being awarded for her watermelon salad creation with Thin Mints.

WEST BLOOMFIELD — In a race for the best recipe using Girl Scout cookies, the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan pit 10 chefs, including two from West Bloomfield, against each other in a competition at the annual Cookie Gala March 26.

The Lark was selected as the Girls’ Choice for a creation using Dulce de Leche cookies, and Prime 29 Steakhouse won the Presenting Sponsor’s Choice Award for an appetizer featuring Thin Mints.

“I did a chocolate bon-bon that was chocolate mousse with a caramel center, a layer of milk chocolate crunch, and I used the cookie as the bottom. I glazed it with a chocolate ganache,” said Catherine Dietz, executive pastry chef at The Lark.

This is the second year Dietz, a graduate of Macomb Community College, has participated in the Cookie Gala. After receiving the Dulce de Leche cookie, which is similar to a caramel chip cookie, in the mail in February, she worked for a month to create her dessert.

“I just thought, what would go good with a caramel cookie? You can’t go wrong with chocolate and caramel,” Dietz said. “That’s what I love. I basically made a dessert that I love.”

To prepare for the event, Dietz made 300 cookies over the course of a week, baking four hours a day.

Each chef was assigned and sent a Girl Scout cookie, and each was required to use the cookie to make a dessert or an appetizer, according to Michelle Smith, chief development officer for Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan.

“I like surprises, always” said Prime 29 Steakhouse head chef Haiying Bushey, referring to receiving the box of cookies in the mail. “When we get into the business … sometimes, as a chef, you want to do something you want to do. But for so many different reasons, you can’t do it.”

Bushey won the Presenting Sponsor’s Choice Award with her watermelon salad, featuring a citrus mint dressing and topped with Thin Mint crumbs, but she also created a double chocolate cheesecake with a Thin Mint crust.

Bushey said she intended on only submitting the cheesecake but decided, because of the spring season, to create a refreshing and light dish. For the 2013 Cookie Gala, Bushey won the People’s Choice Award for a parfait using Samoas cookies, custard and caramelized bananas.

“I’m looking forward to next year. I already know what I want to make,” Bushey said.

This is the 13th year the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan have held the Cookie Gala, which is a fundraiser for the organization. The gala had 302 attendees and pulled in over $87,000 from sponsorships, an auction and ticket sales, which will be distributed back to the Girl Scouts for programming.

“Other Girl Scout councils may do something similar to (the Cookie Gala), but I think we’re one of the largest ones and have been doing it for a while,” Smith said.

The auction items included a Legends of Rock electric guitar signed by Slash, B.B. King, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Van Halen and Jimmy Page. A guitar signed by Taylor Swift, an autographed Tina Turner album and a sketch from Charles Schultz were also auctioned off.

Board members and local businesses donated the auction items, Smith said.

“The best experience is getting out and doing something different than the normal routine of going to work,” Dietz said, adding that she plans to compete next year.

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