Ultimate Chef Bergen County: Lemongrass


Ultimate Chef Bergen County Lemongrass by you.

It’s time for another episode of Ultimate Chef Bergen County!

Click for Hi-Res Slide Show

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.

This year, her opponent was Chef Carmine Spinazzola from South City Grill in Jersey City. The theme ingredient was Lemongrass.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

The crowd awaits the start of the competition.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

The judges — Richard Kimble of the Waldorf Astoria/Sodexo, Bill Pitcher of the Bergen Record, and Tom Griffiths of the Culinary Institute of America.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Chef Christine and Chef Michelle discuss lemongrass prep strategy.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Working on a raspberry reduction for the dessert course.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Christine boils up a lemongrass tea for use in her sauces.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

A nice specimen of lemongrass, from South City’s station.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

South City Grill’s Chef Spinazzola works his station.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Spinazzola tries to extract some lemongrass flavor with clarified butter.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Chef Christine looking serious.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

The judges discuss their observations of both teams.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Chef Michelle having some fun with pears.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Workin’ the risotto!

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Picnic’s breadcrumb/lemongrass topping for their fish course emerges from the oven.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Poaching up pears in simple syrup with lemongrass.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

South City whips out the BLACK FORBIDDEN RICE!

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Grilled curry shrimp, on the South City station.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

South City plates it’s first dish, Grilled Curry Lemongrass Prawns.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Lemongrass Prawn closeup.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Picnic’s first dish emerges — Potato Leek Soup with Lemongrass, and Spinach Salad with Bacon. Now we know that it’s going to be Classic versus Modern!

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Chef Michelle removing seared halibut from the pan.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Picnic’s second dish appears — Seared Halibut in Lemongrass Riesling Beurre Blanc Sauce with Potatoes, with Lemongrass “Gremolata” Breadcrumbs.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

What’s this? More seafood from South City! Deep Fried Lobster, with a sweet and sour lemongrass sauce, Black Forbidden Rice and Lemongrass Bokchoy.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Chef Griffiths examines his lobster.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

A pensive Bill Pitcher.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Chef Michelle checks the doneness of the Filet Mignon.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Dish #3 for South City — Lemongrass Butter Poached Monkfish, with English Pea risotto.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Picnic counters with a traditional Steak au Poivre with lemongrass peppercorn cream sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes and haricot vert.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

South City plates its Lemongrass Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce.

Ultimate Chef Bergen County (Lemongrass) by you.

Picnic’s Poached Pear in Lemongrass Simple Syrup with Raspberry Reduction.

and the winner is….

Christine Nunn from PICNIC CATERERS!!!

Even though South City hit hard with luxury ingredients, bold spices and over-the-top plating, Picnic’s traditional French cuisine, which used lemongrass as a simple accent flavor, reigned supreme. In the end, it was Christine’s CIA classic technique that gave her the advantage over Spinazzola.

Christine will return in two weeks to participate in the Ultimate Chef Finals. I can’t wait.

7 Responses to Ultimate Chef Bergen County: Lemongrass

  1. MJP says:

    Awesomesauce! Christine is catering our wedding and she mentioned this when we spoke last week, she mentioned the fish and that she’d be keen on serving it. :thumbsup:

  2. Admin says:

    Man I’m hungry! Great post.

  3. Alexa says:

    Thank you for posting this! Had been looking forward to it. We love Picnic, get lunch delivered all the time. Also, have been reading your blog forever, and I love it.

  4. Alexa says:

    Was also surprised that Bill Pitcher looked so young. For some reason, have always imagined him “grandfatherly”.

  5. christine says:

    Well, this week’s battle is over, and I will be competing against Joe Mecri of Hennessey Tavern. Next Saturday, same place, same time.

  6. […] defeating Chef Carmine Spinazzola from South City Grill in the Lemongrass Battle, Chef Christine Nunn of Picnic Caterers returned again to the Chef Central demo kitchen to compete […]

  7. […] this year, Chef Carmine Spinazzola plated some gorgeous-looking seafood Asian-Fusion dishes for the Lemonsgrass-themed elimination round. So when I heard he would be running the kitchen at Fire & Oak Newport, I was […]

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