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Peterborough

Young foodies fare well

The Well School: Students win big at grilling competition

  •  Kimberly Graham Kim Graham lives in Dublin with her husband, Jim, and their two children. The couple hails from New Brunswick, Canada. This column chronicles their first-ever adventures in farming. For more about the farm, see www.oxbowfarmnh.com.

    Kimberly Graham Kim Graham lives in Dublin with her husband, Jim, and their two children. The couple hails from New Brunswick, Canada. This column chronicles their first-ever adventures in farming. For more about the farm, see www.oxbowfarmnh.com. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Students on the Competition Grilling Team at The Well School.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)

    Students on the Competition Grilling Team at The Well School.

    (Staff photo by Maxine Joselow) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Students on the Competition Grilling Team at The Well School.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)

    Students on the Competition Grilling Team at The Well School.

    (Staff photo by Maxine Joselow) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)

    The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.

    (Staff photo by Maxine Joselow) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)

    The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.

    (Staff photo by Maxine Joselow) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)

    The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.

    (Staff photo by Maxine Joselow) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)

    The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.

    (Staff photo by Maxine Joselow) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Eric Simon, Well School parent and Associate Professor of Biology, stands in the outdoor area at the Well School where he taught his students grilling techniques.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)

    Eric Simon, Well School parent and Associate Professor of Biology, stands in the outdoor area at the Well School where he taught his students grilling techniques.

    (Staff photo by Maxine Joselow) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Students in the Competition Grilling class are Jared Lewis of Bennington, left, Noah Schultz of Lunenberg, Mass., Calvin Bates of Dublin, and Nate Morison of Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)

    Students in the Competition Grilling class are Jared Lewis of Bennington, left, Noah Schultz of Lunenberg, Mass., Calvin Bates of Dublin, and Nate Morison of Peterborough.

    (Staff photo by Maxine Joselow) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Well School students who participated in the recent grilling competition include, in the front row, Jared Lewis of Bennington, left, Calvin Bates of Dublin, and in the second row are Jason Frank of Sharon, left, TJ Bonvie of Hancock, Noah Schultz of Lunenburg, Mass., Nathaniel Morison of Peterborough, and Pablo Perea, also of Lunenburg, Mass, In the back row is Eric Simon of Deering.

    Well School students who participated in the recent grilling competition include, in the front row, Jared Lewis of Bennington, left, Calvin Bates of Dublin, and in the second row are Jason Frank of Sharon, left, TJ Bonvie of Hancock, Noah Schultz of Lunenburg, Mass., Nathaniel Morison of Peterborough, and Pablo Perea, also of Lunenburg, Mass, In the back row is Eric Simon of Deering. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  •  Kimberly Graham Kim Graham lives in Dublin with her husband, Jim, and their two children. The couple hails from New Brunswick, Canada. This column chronicles their first-ever adventures in farming. For more about the farm, see www.oxbowfarmnh.com.

    Kimberly Graham Kim Graham lives in Dublin with her husband, Jim, and their two children. The couple hails from New Brunswick, Canada. This column chronicles their first-ever adventures in farming. For more about the farm, see www.oxbowfarmnh.com. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  •  Kimberly Graham Kim Graham lives in Dublin with her husband, Jim, and their two children. The couple hails from New Brunswick, Canada. This column chronicles their first-ever adventures in farming. For more about the farm, see www.oxbowfarmnh.com.
  • Students on the Competition Grilling Team at The Well School.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)
  • Students on the Competition Grilling Team at The Well School.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)
  • The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)
  • The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)
  • The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)
  • The sixth through eighth graders on the Competition Grilling Team from the Well School in Peterborough won first place in the burger category at the Monadnock Up in Smoke N.H. State Burger Competition, despite being the youngest team there.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)
  • Eric Simon, Well School parent and Associate Professor of Biology, stands in the outdoor area at the Well School where he taught his students grilling techniques.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)
  • Students in the Competition Grilling class are Jared Lewis of Bennington, left, Noah Schultz of Lunenberg, Mass., Calvin Bates of Dublin, and Nate Morison of Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Maxine Joselow)
  • Well School students who participated in the recent grilling competition include, in the front row, Jared Lewis of Bennington, left, Calvin Bates of Dublin, and in the second row are Jason Frank of Sharon, left, TJ Bonvie of Hancock, Noah Schultz of Lunenburg, Mass., Nathaniel Morison of Peterborough, and Pablo Perea, also of Lunenburg, Mass, In the back row is Eric Simon of Deering.
  •  Kimberly Graham Kim Graham lives in Dublin with her husband, Jim, and their two children. The couple hails from New Brunswick, Canada. This column chronicles their first-ever adventures in farming. For more about the farm, see www.oxbowfarmnh.com.

They may have been the youngest ones at the Monadnock Up in Smoke BBQ Festival competition, but they smoked out their competitors. The sixth through eighth graders on The Well School’s Competition Grilling Team won first place in the burger category and finished seventh overall.

The competition was stiff at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey the weekend of May 31 through June 2. Thirty-three teams vied for the top spot in the categories of appetizer, chicken wings, “must have bacon” and hamburger. One team included the winner of the 2011 World Barbecue Competition, but none of the other groups of competitors included children.

Heading into the competition, students on the Well School team say they were in good spirits. “The goal was just to do well and have fun. It was really laid-back,” said Jared Lewis, 14, of Bennington in the grilling area outside the Well School on Tuesday. “We weren’t sure if we were going to win anything. We were just there to have a good time.”

“I just thought the competition would be really fun,” said Noah Schultz, 14, of Lunenburg, Mass.

Eric Simon, a Well School parent and the coach of the Competition Grilling Team, echoed the students’ sentiments.

“They were the youngest ones there. There wasn’t a junior division. Honestly, I thought it would be great if we could get top 10 in a category and win an award. But I just wanted everybody to have fun,” Simon said.

Simon has two sons at Well School, one in fourth grade and the other in sixth grade. Simon is an associate professor of Biology at New England College, but when the spring semester ended this year he ditched his regular profession to pursue his passion for grilling.

Simon coached the Competition Grilling Team twice a week for three weeks leading up to the competition. He taught them grilling techniques and helped them experiment with different recipes. Simon placed the most emphasis on the burger. “I knew the hamburger was our strongest category. It was the dish we worked the hardest on,” Simon said.

The students tweaked their burger recipe during every class, trying different sauces and cooking times and recording their findings in a notebook. Eventually, the winning burger was born: a bacon cheeseburger with pickles and a special sauce.

The students’ bacon and bittersweet chocolate bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce claimed sixth place in the must have bacon category, and their grilled flatbread with beef brisket, caramelized onions, asiago cheese, balsamic vinegar and guava-smoked sea salt took 15th place in the appetizer category for an overall seventh place finish.

Students said their success in the competition came as a surprise. “When I found out, I was completely speechless,” Lewis said. “I had no idea we would do that well.”

“I was surprised because there were a lot of older people there,” Schultz said. “I was at school when Eric called and told me. I ran around telling everyone. I was so happy.”

The Competition Grilling Team was part of project weeks at the Well School, in which students choose a project to pursue for the last three weeks of the academic year, in addition to two academic classes.

Projects are taught by parents or community members, and focus on material outside the regular curriculum.

The approximately 50 projects this year included veterinary surgery, building musical instruments, introduction to triathlon and canine training and care, said Lee Garland, principal of the Well School.

“Projects give kids the opportunity to learn new skills they might not otherwise be exposed to in the normal curriculum,” Garland said. “The thing I love the most is that it really influences these kids. The kids find new interests they never otherwise would have found.”

This marked the fourth year Simon has taught a project. He has focused on a different hobby each year, including tie-dying, aviation, backgammon and most recently grilling.

Simon said he does not know whether he will continue to teach grilling or a different activity next year. “I just don’t know,” Simon said. “The expectations might be too high if we do it again.”

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