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First Taste Of Summer: Chef's Challenge 2017 to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Capital Region

patty | Saturday July 1, 2017

MadAddie...Mixing IT Up.

First Taste of Summer: 6th Annual Chef's Challenge to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Capital Region

I was pleased to serve on the event Steering Committee as well as a Judge for the "Iron Chef" style competition for the 3rd year.

Event attendees were treated to fab fare from participating restaurants, including Prime at Saratoga National, Blue Agave, The Olde Bryan Inn, The Edison Club, Warehouse Grill + BBQ, The Hilton Garden Inn, and Forno Bistro. Guests cast their vote for the "People's Choice" award and the winner competes the following year against the winner of the "Iron Chef" challenge. In addition, a cocktail competition starts the evening off on a "spirited" note.

Emerging victorious from the "People's Choice" portion of the program this year were Chef Derek Adams, of Warehouse Grill + BBQ and Ryen VanHall, whose Upstate Distillinglibation featured their own Bourbon cocktail, perfectly presented with an infused Rhubarb skewer.

The "Iron Chef" Challenge is a mano a mano...all knives on deck..clash of culinary prowess, allowing each Chef to put their creativity to the test. Each Chef must create an appetizer, entrée and dessert course for the judges, who are armed with scorecards for each round. And, in true "Iron Chef" fashion, there is a secret ingredient in play. This year's secret substance was mint, which I was thrilled about, as it captures the essence of Summer, and lends itself to so many preparations and flavor combinations.

Chef Thomas Gulbrandsen, a graduate of the SCCC Culinary Arts Program and Executive Chef of Saratoga Marriott Courtyard and Excelsior Springs, was making his 3rd appearance to retain his throne, having bested Chef John Ireland, after his own similar dominance in the event, several years ago. The challenger, Chef Frank Daluisio, represented Iron Roost, located in Ballston Spa, having emerged victorious from The "People's Choice" in 2016.

I was joined at Judge's table by John "Doc" Sconzo, Chef Joe Marosek, and the high bidder for the coveted 4th judge's seat.

We were wowed by each Chef's minty mastery, and when the votes were tallied...the results were an unprecedented tie. We were then tasked with dissecting each course and ultimately choosing a winner. Chef Tom was tops once again, pulling off the three-peat.

And so...next year's challenge will feature two of my close friends, Chef Derek vs. Chef Tom.

Chef Tom was actually in my graduating class from Culinary School and his skills continue to amaze me. Both are incredible talents and I am looking forward to their presentations at next year's festivities.

Without further ado...here are some photos from the event...no calories!

if you are interested in additional information on how to participate in next year's event, please do not hesitate to contact me. Bon Appetit!


Tags: madaddie marketing big brothers big sisters chef's challenge saratoga events charity

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