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Caribou pastry wins third prize in online cooking contest

Ronda Ohokannoak’s caribou pastry was “affordable and she had a meaningful reason to her dish,” says judge Tasha Tologanak. photo courtesy of Ronda Ohokannoak.

Ronda Ohokannoak’s caribou pastry won third prize in the Nunavut Day Home Cook Challenge.

One of the contest judges Tasha Tologanak said Ohokannoak’s recipe was “a simple yet delicious way to utilize caribou in a pastry.”

“I really enjoyed making her dish and going over her recipe,” said Tologanak, adding her family also really enjoyed it.

As part of the judging criteria, three judges had to recreate the top three recipes on July 8.

According to another judge Sheila Flaherty, Ohokannoak’s submission was “unique.” The judges were impressed with how she had described the caribou pastry as a “very nutritional snack” that children gobbled up.

Ohokannoak has been making this caribou pastry for 20 years.

“I wanted to do something different with leftover caribou roast meat besides eating it as sandwiches or just picking on it,” she explained.

She remembers her grandmother grinding leftover roast and making meat pies. Inspired, Ohokannoak began mincing up leftover meat and adding different ingredients and seasonings to make a moist filling. Using a pie pastry, she made little meat pies.

The ingredients and spices for Ronda Ohokannoak’s caribou pastry. photo courtesy of Tasha Tologanak

“My children would ask for them every time we had caribou,” she said.

The caribou pastries freeze very well, and thus can easily be heated up as after school or late night snacks, the cook explained.

Instead of eating processed snacks, her children would prefer to eat her caribou pastries. “My family loved them,” she said.

Ohokannoak added, “Even now that they (children) are older they still like it when I make my caribou pastries, and now I have grandchildren who enjoy them as well.”

One of the online contests, held by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated this year for Nunavut Day was the Home Cook Challenge. Nunavummiut were encouraged to submit an application with their Northern recipe and its photo.

The recipes were judged for originality, presentation, affordability, nutritional value, use of country food and the reason for choosing the recipe.

A lot of people had entered the contest, said Tologanak, noting “the best part of being a judge was the experience and going through all the creative ways to cook traditional food.”

Within the adult category, 1st prize was awarded to Mathew and Allasua Knickelbein, from Niaqunnguq, for their Char Curry. They received a canvas tent, two sleeping bags, coleman stove and $3000.

Charlotte Kuutsiq of Rankin Inlet came in second for her buns, coleslaw and fish burger. She was awarded a canvas tent, BBQ and $2000.

After being convinced my her husband to enter the online contest, Ohokannoak came in third place and won a fishing net, fishing rod, loaded tackle box and $1000.

“I was surprised and honoured to have been chosen as a winner. There are so many amazing cooks in Nunavut and I feel fortunate to have my recipe chosen,” said Ohokannoak of Cambridge Bay.