LEWISTON — If you plan on checking in at Rolly's Diner this weekend for a hearty helping of daily specials right off the menu board, keep your eyes posted and your taste buds ready for the newest selection to join the list at the local family favorite.
Sadie Blais' award-winning chocolate crepes.
"I was really nervous at first, but now I'm just shocked that I beat all these people who've been in this business for years," Blais said after sweeping all three categories at Sunday's Second Annual Chocolat Competition at the Green Ladle.
The event featured yummy chocolate treats of all varieties from eight local restaurants and two home-based confectioners. All proceeds from the 300-plus tickets sold goes to support end-of-the-year activities for Lewiston Middle School. Their goal is $4,000.
Blais, an 18-year-old Leavitt High School senior, isn't specially trained in chocolate creations, nor does she have a side business in baking. In fact, the daughter of Rolly's Diner owner Ken Blais kicked her dad out of his own kitchen and went to work more than a month ago in hopes of coming up with something unique and tasty to showcase at the event.
And the venture paid off as she took the stage three times to accept first-place awards for two judged categories, Chocoholics' Dream and Decadent Display, and the people's choice award, Candy is Dandy.
Blais' proud pop said he tried to offer his daughter help and suggestions several times during the creative process, but that she kept shooing him out of the family kitchen. In the end, she unveiled decadent chocolate crepes filled with mocha Bavarian creme and topped with raspberry sauce and chocolate glaze.
"It's a really great event that opens this facility up to the community while raising funds for student activities," event organizer Michael Courchesne, a French teacher at LMS, said. "All of these folks are very generous to come out. I can't say enough about them. This event really wouldn't happen without them."
In addition to the local restaurants, bakers and confectioners, Courchesne said that more than 30 teachers from the middle school helped with the effort in some way. Also, students donated items for raffle baskets with themes chosen by the teens themselves like "Super Bowl," "Snowy Night In" and "Rock & Roll."
"I donated some stuff for my team basket, and my team had the biggest basket," Jamie St. Pierre, 13, an LMS eighth-grader, said. "The money is going to support field trips and stuff."
As far as St. Pierre was concerned, the judges and attendees needed to go no further than the chocolate-covered marshmallows and strawberries served up by Pastiche. For seventh-grader Brianna Farrell, any chocolate was good chocolate.
"I thought it would be kind of cool to taste everybody's chocolate and vote on the best one," the 12-year-old Lewiston girl said of why she came out for the event.
Additional winners included Pastiche, which took second place in the Chocoholics' Dream category, and two third-place wins for Most Decadent Display and Candy is Dandy. The Bread Shack won second place for Most Decadent Display and third for Chocoholics' Dream, while Maine Gourmet Chocolates took second place in the Candy is Dandy category.