Saturday, June 18, 2011

CHG Top Chef Finale

Throughout the month of May, Century Hospitality Group had been holding their own version of the Top Chef competition for their own chefs to compete and test their skills.

Shirley's Brined Salmon with daikon slaw
The last Saturday of May saw the final two competitors facing off for the title of CHG Top Chef. Ben Weir faced off with Shirley Fortez at Lux Steakhouse. Their challenge was to cook a 3 course meal with a specific ingredients supplied for each course, enhanced by items that they bought at City Centre Market that morning. They would each be assisted by one of the previous guest judges. Assisting Ben Weir was Valerie Lugonja and Che Bechard assisted Shirley Fortez.

Eek! Feeb short ribs with spot prawn ravioli *faint*
There was quite the crowd gathered to witness the finale and be the taste testers for the food. Although Ben and Shirley would be judged by a panel of 4, each guest would also be able to cast their vote for the winner as well.

Prior to dinner, there was a friendly competition between Chef Tony Le and Chef Andrew Cowan. They had each prepared an amuse bouche, and the audience would decide the victor. Chef Cowan had prepared scrapple topped with a quail egg, while Chef Le had a watermelon topped with boar bacon. The overwhelming roar of the crowd declared Chef Cowan the winner, while Chef Le will have to ensure some good natured ribbing over this loss. Then again, he won't be alone as Chef Paul Shufelt lost a bacon ice cream challenge to Chef Cowan on International Bacon Day last year.

Ben's Sabayon with Raspberries
The secret ingredients for the day included steelhead salmon for their appetizer, feeb short ribs for their entree, and eggs for their dessert, along with spot prawns.

We started with Ben's salmon tartar with asparagus mash, followed by Shirley's brined salmon and daikon slaw with soy sauce. Both fantastic, although the asparagus mash was a bit bitter for my liking and the saucing on Shirley's salmon a bit heavy handed. But the salmon shined through as the star on both dishes.

Following was Ben's braised feeb short rib with Burundi coffee rub, spot prawn ravioli/wonton and Shirley's short rib with vegetables (least to say, I left these courses to my entourage to eat, I'm no cownibal). My entourage were quite delighted at the fork tenderness of Ben's feeb short ribs, though found the doughy ravioli.wonton actually over powered the prawn hiding inside. They loved the seasoning on Shirley's short rib, but found it slightly less tender than Ben's had been.

Lastly was Ben's sabayon with berries and raspberry sorbet and Shirley's carrot cake with almonds and apple-pineapple compte. I liked the lightness of the sabayon, but would have liked the berries underneath to have some of the seeds strained out. Shirley's carrot cake converted this once carrot cake hater into a liker.
Ben and Shirley stand before the judges

After much deliberation, the judges marks had come quite close and the winner would literally be decided by the votes cast by diners that night. In the end, Ben Weir was named CHG Top Chef. Congratulations to both for a job well done!

The bootiful Shaun McConechy
There was also a side competition that had been occurring through the whole competition. A bracket pool had been created where anyone would guess who they thought the winner would be for the whole competition. By the finale, it had ome down to mooself trailing the bootiful (aka. beautiful) Shauna McConechy by one point. Alas, I lost, but to this beauty, I'd lose any day.

A great, fun time was had by all and I look forward to this type of event becoming an annual occurrence!

More pictures found on Flickr.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note that all comments are moderated prior to posting.

Comments that are offensive and abusive in nature, contain profanity, or demean others will not be posted. You must provide a name in order to post a comment, anonymous comments will not be posted.

Comments that are controversial in nature or generate debate and dialog are welcome.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...