Ultimate Chef Bergen County

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This weekend we took a minor break from our new healthy lifestyle approach and decided to go watch our friend Christine Nunn compete in Ultimate Chef Bergen County, a cooking demo series sponsored by Chef Central in Paramus.

The match up was an interesting one — the opposing chef was fellow CIA graduate Kenneth Trickilo, of Napa Valley Grille restaurant, and the theme ingredient was Sicilian “Blood Orange Infused Sea Salt“. As with similar competitions you might have seen on TV, the competitors have 1 hour to produce four unique dishes, each of which need to showcase that particular ingredient, and are judged on overall taste and creativity as well as technical skill. The judges were Certified Master Chef Ken Arnone, 201 Magazine Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill, and Chef John Branda of Bergen County Academies.

Who’s cuisine reigned supreme? Click the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Chef Central’s demo area. Although not as huge as Kitchen Stadium, its still quite impressive, with HDTV monitors and completely outfitted with Viking appliances.

The Picnic Catering dream team — Christine Nunn and Michelle West.

Part of Picnic’s arsenal of weaponry included an entire garden of microgreens. Very Haute.

Not one for doing things the easy way, Christine even made quick pickles as a component of one of her dishes, the Salt Encrusted Pork Cubano Sandwich.

Here’s Christine making a tuna tartare as part of the appetizer course.

Competing chef Kenneth Trickilo being interviewed.

Chef Michelle seasons the Skirt Steak for the salad course.

Ultimate Chef Judge and Certified Master Chef Ken Arnone looks approvingly at Christine’s station.

201 Magazine Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill stops in for an inspection as well.

Chef Trickilo works on his Veal Reduction.

Chef Trickilo’s station

Christine preps her Cubano sandwich.

Christine releases her first dish, a 3-Way Crudo degustation of fresh Gravlax over Latke, Sashimi Grade Tuna Tartare and Bay Scallop Ceviche.

Chef Trickilo fought back with an impressive fresh-made mozzarella cheese seasoned with the blood orange sea salt, embedded with roasted pepper and basil, with a blood orange vinaigrette salad.

Judges John Branda of Bergen County Academies, Susan Leigh Sherrill of 201 Magazine and Certified Master Chef Ken Arnone taste and compare notes.

The chefs discuss their dishes with the judges. Oh oh — did Ken leave out an ingredient last second? It seems the blood orange supremes were not there.

Trickilo rebounds with his Pan Seared Diver Scallops and Sea Beans with Blood Orange reduction.

Christine punches back with a seasoned Skirt Steak over Field and Micro Greens with Mango/Avocado in a Blood Orange Vinaigrette with a Blood Orange Margarita.

The Judges taste again. I think they really like that margarita.

Trickilo whallops back with another heavy protein jobbie, pan seared duck breast, again with a blood orange reduction, with mushrooms and leeks.

Christine hits back hard with her Salt Encrusted Pork Cubano Sandwich, with beet and sweet potato chips and a blood orange juice flavored slaw.

Trickilo responds with another full sized restaurant portion, Blood Orange Salt seasoned Filet Mignon with Veal Reduction.

Christine finishes with her Blood Orange Sorbet with Candied Blood Orange Peel, and Blood Orange Sea Salt infused Chocolate Caramel.

Who’s cuisine reigned supreme? It was Ken Trickilo, who’s bold traditional dishes won out over Chirstine’s lighter, creative and Floribbean-style cuisine, but only by a swing vote of a very small margin. Both chefs did an excellent job, considering the very difficult ingredient and the timeframe in which they had to cook and prepare.

4 Responses to Ultimate Chef Bergen County

  1. e. nassar says:

    Cool Jason. Did you just watch? Or taste any of these awsome creations? I think the crudo and the mozzarella are the two most appealing dishes here. Still, sea salt as theme is a bit odd.

  2. Melissa says:

    Actually, much of this food could be made low fat because there is a lot of protein here: the beef, the scallops, the tuna … as for the beet chips, no problem either … and blood orange anything is wonderful just for the clean citrusy flavors … great picture, Jason!

  3. Bobbie Miller McIntyre (Gramma Mc) says:

    What was that interviews name? I think I know that guy?

  4. […] On January 10, 2009, Chef Christine Nunn of Picnic Caterers returned to Chef Central’s demo kitchen in Paramus with the hope of  victory — after being narrowly defeated by Chef Ken Trickilo in last year’s blood orange battle. […]

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