Local Banana Lovers Crown "Charlotte's Best Banana Bread" for Today's National Banana Bread Day
Charlotte banana lovers have spoken (actually tasted) and crowned "Charlotte's Best Banana Bread" following two days of bake-offs and blind taste tests at the Community Culinary School of Charlotte (CCSC) in honor of today's designation as National Banana Bread Day.
The Loaded Banana Bread developed by Dole Food Company, Inc., the global fresh fruit and vegetable grower and marketer with U.S. headquarters in uptown Charlotte, edged out a recipe made by the student-chefs of CCSC's Class #73 during public voting Feb. 21 at the CCSC Café.
CCSC provides culinary training to those impacted by homelessness, poverty, abuse and other issues, and to veterans and others transitioning into civilian life, to encourage self-sufficiency through stable employment in food service. CSSC's current class, it's 73rd since 1997, numbers 23 students. Under the leadership of CCSC Executive Director Ron Ahlert, known to students as "Chef Ron," CCSC counts 1,087 graduates.
Loaves of the winning bread are being delivered to media and other groups, and are available for sale at the Café today in celebration of National Banana Bread Day.
The friendly competition is part of a larger collaboration between the two organizations to develop healthy, produce-forward, cooking and lifestyle habits and provide the training to allow more local residents to gain access to Charlotte's culinary and food service sector.
"We're delighted to celebrate National Banana Day with the world's most famous banana provider," said Anne Lambert, CCSC director of development. "Support from partners like Dole helps us grow CCSC's workforce training program as a creative solution to the interwoven problems of unemployment, hunger and homelessness. Our ultimate goal is to provide the education, experience and resources necessary to provide food service industry job security to Charlotteans facing employment barriers."
Dole's Loaded Banana Bread is made with premium DOLE® Bananas, eggs, almond milk yogurt and crushed pecans; while the student-created CCSC Class #73 Banana Bread also features premium DOLE® Bananas, as well as avocado oil, maple syrup and sweet potato, the official vegetable of North Carolina.
"Dole is honored to help support the next generation of local bakers, cooks and chefs – and remind these future culinary stars that the best recipes can be delicious and healthy at the same time," said Melanie Marcus, MA, RD, Dole's nutrition and health communications manager. "The enthusiasm, creativity and passion displayed by these students makes all of us at Dole excited about the future of Charlotte's restaurant and food service scene."