I have competed for many 'titles' over the years and in several of the Pairsine - Taste of Elegance competitions I have earned titles in Wine and Food as Best Chef and Most Creative Chef. Last evening I had the privilage to judge the chefs who were after my last title, that of Best Chef in 2011 for Beer & Food. As the defending champion I had a say in who succeeded me only not with my own plates and pairings but in tasting and reviewing the 16 beer and food pairings delivered by the competing chefs.
Chef Mario Clapes - Omni Interlocken Resort
Chef David Harker & Chef Troy Micheletti - Omni Interlocken Resort
Chef Charles MacDonald - Omni Interlocken Resort
Chef Sergio Romero - Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar
Chef Jessica Bains - Bridgewater Grille, The Golden Hotel
Chef Patrick Hartnett - Kachina Southwest Grille @ Westin Westminster Hotel
Chef Todd Adkins - Hideaway Steakhouse
Chef Jensen Cummings - Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar
Chef Michael Long - Fantastic to Fantasy
Taste, Presentation, Creativity & Pairing. Each category has a potential 5 points.
Chef Patrick Hartnett for his "Blue Corn 'Sheepdog' with Polenta Fries, and Achiote-Buttermilk Dipping Sauce" paired with Tommyknocker Brewery Butt Head Bock
"Sweet Corn Ice Cream Blue Corn Pizzelle Cone with Salt & Pepper Brittle" paired with Tommyknocker Brewery Pick Axe IPA
Jensen Cummings for his "Tender Belly Pork Belly, Pickled Papaya, Smoked Oyster Mushrooms, Leek & Edamame Puree, with House-made Sriracha" paired with Deschutes Brewery Mirror Mirror
"Braised Superior Farms Lamb, Compressed Watermelon, Haystack Chevre, Sunflower Seeds and Green Goddess" paired with Deschutes Brewery Jubel
Chef Sergio Romero for his "Red Bird Chicken Liver Mousse with Pink Peppercorn, Colorado Honey, AC Golden Herman Joseph Aspic on French Bread Crostini" paired with AC Golden Herman Joseph Private Reserve
"Colorado Lamb Ribs Braised in Beet Wort, Pomegranate and Clementine Bordelaise, Roasted Plantain Puree and Candied Walnuts" paired with Deschutes 'The Stoic'
Flavor is King. The winners exhibited the best flavor (taste and aromas) in their food. The tie-breakers became the ability to pair the food with the beer, and then the presentation of the chef's food.
As a judge I was completely impartial. As a chef I wanted more. More creativity, more flavor and better presentations...
I will compete again on November 8th in the Wine and Food competition of Pairsine. Get your game on, chefs - I'm coming back.... Peace.