Let it be said that Carole Hackett makes the best meatloaf in town.
Her prize-winnng meatloaf — glazed with a mixture of ketchup, yellow mustard, dark brown sugar and a dash of Worcestershire sauce — won the unanimous nod of the judges at the annual meatloaf mash-up held Sunday at Bintliff’s Restaurant in Ogunquit.
“Oh my God,” Hackett gasped, when a reporter telephoned her with the news.
Hackett, 62, the operating manager at the Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit, wasn’t even supposed to submit a meatloaf for the contest. The inn’s chef, Michelle Cross, was planning to prepare an entry but had broken her ankle over the weekend.
The “Best Meatloaf in Ogunquit Contest” means a lot more than bragging rights. The fourth annual event raised money to preserve Marginal Way, a coastal footpath that the inn overlooks.
Like any good understudy, Hackett knew what to do when her moment came. She baked a meatloaf dish based on a recipe she had created herself for family dinners.
And it was a good thing that Hackett came through, because there were only five meatloaf entries this year. People had donated $20 to the Marginal Way Preservation Fund to attend the event Sunday evening. They were expecting a full-course meatloaf dinner. Some donors would have gone hungry if it wasn’t for Hackett’s five-pound contender.
“This isn’t about me,” Hackett said about her prize. “I just happened to make my meatloaf. It’s about giving back to the community.”
Normally, a blue-collar comfort food like meatloaf would never grace the white tablecloths at Bintliff’s Restaurant, a fine dining establishment.
The restaurant’s owner and chef, Norman Hebert Jr., said he doubts any restaurant in town serves meatloaf. But he said meatloaf is the perfect food for a contest because it allows for a lot of flexibility and experimentation.
Hebert this year submitted a meatloaf entry made of minced duck. The judges didn’t like it. It was too dry, they said.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of duck meatloaf left over,” Hebert said with a sigh. “I will be serving duck chili tomorrow.”
Second prize went to a meatloaf dish backed by a team, Lisa Hudanich and Marco Antony Stivaletto. It contained feta cheese, spinach, Greek olives, ground beef and pork and was wrapped in phyll, an unleavened flour dough.
“I got my little ribbon. I am thrilled,” said Hudanich, a cook at Ryan’s Irish Pub in Ogunquit.
Stivaletto said meatloaf is an all-purpose food.
“The next day, it’s shepherd’s pie,” he said.
While it’s not normally on the menu for the summer crowd at restaurants in this coastal village, meatloaf might make an appearance in the off-season. That’s when restaurants lower their prices and lure locals with comfort food, such as hamburgers and lasagna, Hackett said. The restaurants in town call these dinners “public suppers,” she said.
Will the Beachmere Inn be featuring her prize-winning meatloaf this winter?
“I’ll have to talk to the chef and see what she thinks of it,”Hackett said. “We may feature it at one of our public suppers or at our pub. It would fit well with whipped potatoes, and pearl unions and garden peas.”
Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at