|Shirley's Brined Salmon with daikon slaw|
|Eek! Feeb short ribs with spot prawn ravioli *faint*|
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|
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|
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.