Erin French, chef/owner of The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, has won second place in a cooking challenge sponsored by American Public Television. Her $250 prize will be used to fund a three-part Web series to air on this summer.

The Create Cooking Challenge received hundreds of entries that were judged on culinary knowledge, ability to present ideas clearly, telegenic appeal and presentation. The finalists were chosen by Chris Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country; Pati Jinich of Pati’s Mexican Table; Jacques Pépin; Sara Moulton; Chef Irie (“Taste the Islands With Chef Irie”); and Cynthia Fenneman, president of American Public Television.

French and the other contestants submitted two-minute videos showcasing a particular recipe for the judges. The grand prize winner was Jaime Isobe of Brooklyn, N.Y., who illustrated multiple ways to serve braised beef shanks, including over pasta and in tacos. He received $1,000 to finance a 10-episode Web series for

French’s entry, which can still be viewed online, was titled “The Sweet Life in Maine: Making baked beans and enjoying maple season.”

“Loved her stove and her kitchen and she is very personable/charming,” Kimball commented. Pepin called French “very telegenic.”

French’s 40-seat restaurant, located in an old grist mill, has won raves from critics and food magazines, which makes getting reservations a challenge. French was a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award this year in the category Best Chef: Northeast, and plans to publish a cookbook featuring recipes from her restaurant next spring.

Amy Gulino Kayne, a private chef who lives in Portland, also entered the contest and was one of 16 other winners singled out by the judges, although there was no prize money involved. Her video featured a roasted cauliflower bite with tahini sauce and dehydrated onion dust.

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