WILTON — Nine-year-old Kennady Savage of Wilton figured to earn a ribbon Saturday for her debut entry in the Wilton Blueberry Festival's cook-off.
She entered what she called a Blueberry Smile Trifle in the Desserts category for children ages 15 and under. She used angel food cake, plain whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries, and topped it with a smiley face of blueberries.
Kennady was stunned when it won first place and Best in Show from Wilton judges Therese Pinette of Law Mountain Wreaths and Bakery in Wilton, Brian Kelly and state Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton.
"It was very unique, a different idea," Saviello said of the trifle.
"It took 20 minutes to make," Savage said. "I kind of expected it to win third or fourth place, but not really Best of Show."
The youngster proudly clipped her ribbon to the front of her shirt top and high-fived her mom, Danielle Savage.
"Who taught you how to cook?" her mother asked.
"You," Kennady replied.
Danielle Savage said her daughter enjoys cooking and does plenty of it.
"Desserts are the easiest, because they don't really involve much cooking," Kennady said. "With a trifle, it's mostly layering."
Danielle Savage said her daughter didn't use a recipe.
"She doesn't listen to me as far as recipes go," the mother said. "She just does her own thing, so she threw it together this morning. I'm very proud of her. She likes to cook."
She told Kennady, "Good job, I'm proud of you. You can hang (the ribbon) in the garage with my cooking ribbons."
"First place! Best of Show!" Kennady said.
"You're awesome!" Mom said.
Danielle Savage said she didn't enter anything this year, but Kennady's dad, Ray Nadeau of Wilton, did, winning second place with his vegetarian chili.
Danielle Savage won first place last year and Best in Show for a lemon-blueberry Bundt cake and chili, Kennady said. The year before, Danielle Savage said she won first place for her blueberry salsa.
Kennady looked around and saw teary-eyed Bree Griffin, 5, of Wilton, who was dismayed that her debut entry of Frosted Blueberries didn't win a ribbon.
The 9-year-old promptly went over to where Griffin stood with her mom, Melissa Griffin, and congratulated Bree. She asked if she could try the chocolate- and caramel-covered blueberries. Kennady then proceeded to cheer Bree up, telling her how tasty it was.
Melissa Griffin, who won third place for her Blueberry Bread Pudding, said her daughter cooks with her.
"But this is the first time she did it on her own," she said. "We'll be back next year."
Entering and winning first place in the Main Dish category was also a first for former Flint, Mich., resident Alicia Geisenhaver. She and Beth Karkos, both of East Dixfield, cooked and entered Blueberry Glazed Pork Chops with Blueberry Stuffing.
"This is the first thing I ever won," Geisenhaver, 45, said. "It's kind of exciting. I move all the way from Michigan to Maine to finally win something."
She said her cousin, Angie Carbino, of Sierra Vista, Ariz, gave them the idea. Carbino suggested adding cranberry sauce as part of the glaze.
Cook-off and chili-tasting contests' organizer Katie Hallman said Saturday's event was the festival's largest yet for entries.
"It's much bigger than last year, and we had a lot more kids entering this year, which is great," Hallman said.
Contestants had four categories to enter: Dessert, Breakfast, Main Dish and Miscellaneous. All had to contain blueberries.
More than 60 delectable-looking and heavenly-smelling entries that kept the judges busy for more than an hour in sweltering heat adorned five long tables.
Afterward, Saviello said, "There was a lot of it to eat and you could only take tiny bites for the flavor, but when we finished, it was surprising that we were very close to each other with our results."
Overall, the festival went great on Friday and Saturday, said Shannon Smith, chairwoman of the Wilton Blueberry Festival board of directors.
"It's awesome!" Smith said. "We're very pleased. We had a very good turnout."