SALT LAKE CITY, UT (June 25)—At Nicholas & Company's food show earlier this month, products and educational sessions were only part of the draw. Another big attraction was the Ultimate Chef Challenge, an Iron Chef-style competition in which local chefs vied for the chance to cook at ChefDance, a series of swanky culinary soirees held during the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Four teams cooked against the clock in fully-equipped kitchens erected in the center of the food show floor. Jumbo video screens visible from virtually anywhere on the floor broadcast their every move, and MCs kept attendees up on what was happening as the teams whipped up gourmet specialties featuring the mystery ingredient - 24-pound beef short loins.
The winning chefs were John Murcko and Clement Gelas of Talisker Mountain Inc., a golf club in Park City. They took the top prize with a skewered lobster and soy beef dish seared on stones heated to more than 600 degrees. The team also prepared Yorkshire pudding with wasabi creamed spinach; potato foam-topped shepherd's pie; oxtail consommé; and Bloody Mary salad.
While the contest adds excitement to the food show, it's also designed to ensure that local chefs get a place at the table at ChefDance, which headlines celebrity chefs such as Tyler Florence and Rocco DiSpirito.
Additional competitions held during the distributor's food show were an American Culinary Federation Beehive Chef's Competition for student and professional chefs, a Salad Creation Competition and the Nicco Cup Challenge, involving five culinary schools.