2010 International Chefs Congress Wrap-Up: Competitions Day One

2010 International Chefs Congress Wrap-Up: Competitions Day One


Somm Slam The First Annual Somm Slam
To kick off the first annual StarChefs.com Somm Slam, Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth of Forestville, California’s The Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant MCed the real-time pairing competition. The excitement was palpable, as San Francisco's Aziza Chef Mourad Lahlou's three dishes were paired with wines selected by contestants Alexander LaPratt of New York’s DB Bistro Moderne, Kate Moore of L’Espalier in Boston, Andrew Myers of CityZen in Washington, DC, and Jesse Rodriguez of San Diego’s Addison--all on the fly! The first course of Warm Corn Pudding with Tomatoes and Smoked Roe posed a few challenges in terms of pairings with the potent roe, but the sommeliers were game and rallied. LaPratt’s choice of a 2009 Iberian Remix white blend was a crowd-pleaser, with its high acid accenting the corn’s sweetness. Lahlou’s second course of Hamachi with Black Garlic, Compressed Cucumbers, Sea Beans, and Borage presented another challenge with its highly salted sea beans, but all the contestants’ selections were well-received, from Kate Moore’s Viognier to Jesse Rodriguez’s 2009 Etude Pinot Gris from Carneros to Andrew Myers’ 2009 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc from Malborough, to Alexander LaPratt’s Wachau Valley Gruner Veltliner. In the end, Myers' New Zealand Sauv Blanc was the reigning favorite. The third dish of Poached Hen Yolk, Short Ribs, Charmoula, and Potato Foam clinched it, as Andrew Myers’ Iberian Remix Tempranillo-based blend was a slam dunk. Join us tomorrow to see who wins the second round to face off against Myers in Wednesday’s final lap of the competition!

Round 1 Winner
Andrew Myers
of CityZen - Washington, DC


Pastry Competition The First Annual International Pastry Competition
presented by PreGel
The first day of the First Annual International Pastry Competition took place on the Congress Main Stage this morning. Twenty competitors plated pre-desserts under the lights, cameras, and watchful eyes of the IPC floor judges (who include Alex Stupak, Michael Laiskonis, Jordan Kahn, Mindy Segal, and Frederic Monti). Each competitor had 10 minutes to plate their dishes for the panel of prestigious judges with expert palates. Executive Pastry Chef Consultant for the competition and judge Johnny Iuzzini dove into each dish with eagerness, while Jacques Torres took a more contemplative approach; Elizabeth Falkner started with the aromatics of the dish while Jeffrey Steingarten keyed into presentation, eyeing the dishes from multiple angels. Carica, a new fruit available in the US from the desert of Chile, appeared in several forms; lychee was also an ingredient that played supporting roles several times. The Carpigiani LB 100 was the featured equipment for this round; each contestant was required to use the ice cream machine in some manner (for ice cream, sorbet, sherbets, mousse, and more) for the dish. MC Keegan Gerhard took note of the extraordinary level the contestants were performing at in this round; remarking that they just might be redefining pre-desserts altogether for the industry. The 10 finalists were announced on the Main Stage; they will advance to the second round on Tuesday morning.

Round 1 Winners
Maximo Carmona Rivera of Lacroix Restaurant –Philadelphia, PA
Chris Ford of Trummer’s on Main – Clifton, VA
Ian Gresik of Drago Centro – Los Angeles, CA
Kei Hasegawa of Sashi – Manhattan Beach, CA
Jim Hutchison of Foxwood Resorts – Norwich, CT
Jiho Kim of L’Espalier – Boston, MA
Ron Paprocki of Gordon Ramsay at The London – New York, NY
Ramon Perez of David Myers Group – Los Angeles, CA
Toni Roberts of C-House – Chicago, IL
Yulanda Santos of Dry Creek Kitchen – Healdsburg, CA

by Jessica Dukes with Amanda McDougall and Francoise Villeneuve