Monday evening, as flurries turned to slush and then ice on the roads, I was holed up with Fred Parry and Adam Wells-Morgan in the Holiday Inn Executive Center. A motley trio, brought together to judge (blindly) the six entries in the Missouri Pork Association’s Taste of Elegance competition. We agreed on the top three dishes, albeit initially in different order, and ultimately decided that the profound awesomeness of a pig’s head entree outweighed a more reproduceable pork tenderloin. First place honors – for that pig’s head (or Fromage de’Tete, if you prefer) – would go to Chef Mandy Mooney who heads up catering services at the Tiger Hotel. Congratulations are in order – it was a gutsy entry and flawlessly executed.
Chefs Ben Parks (Bleu) and Trey Quinlan (Red and Moe) took second and third place, respectively. More info from the trade group’s press release after the jump. Marcia will have a full write-up in the Tribune soon.
Mid-Missouri Chefs Participate in Annual Taste of Elegance Culinary Competition
Columbia, Mo.,— Over 100 people braved the snowy weather to attend the fourth annual Mid-Missouri Taste of Elegance culinary competition held January 10 at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. Chef Mandy Mooney, executive chef of the Tiger Hotel in Columbia, received top honors with her entrée, Fromage de’ Tete with Celery Root Puree. Her winning dish earned the $1,000 top award and the opportunity to attend the National Taste of Elegance event to be held April 30-May 2 in Napa, California.
The Mid-Missouri Taste of Elegance was hosted by the Missouri Pork Association and the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. All pork products for the evening were sponsored by Farmland Foods. The Holiday Inn Executive Center and Missouri Wine and Grape Board provided additional support.
Six chefs prepared dishes for judging on originality, taste and presentation. This year’s judges included: Fred Parry, publisher of Inside Columbia magazine; Scott Rowson, columnist with the Columbia Daily Tribune and Show Me Eats blogger; and Chef Adam Wells-Morgan with the Club at Old Hawthorne. Chef Wells-Morgan won this event in 2010, and went on to win the 2010 National Taste of Elegance competition held in Baltimore. His winning entrée is currently on the menu at Old Hawthorne.
Banquet attendees sampled the dishes during a reception to honor Food Bank donors. Guests voted Chef Benjamin Parks with Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar the People’s Choice winner for his entrée, Rosemary Infused Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Bacon Hash, Crispy Kale and Beets, Maple Chestnut Puree and Apricot Gastrique.
Chef Parks also won second place and $500. Third place went to Chef Trey Quinlan with Red & Moe in Columbia for his entrée, Pork Jowl Terrine & Apple Fries.
Additional chefs competing included Chef Chandler Smith, Les Bourgeois; Chef Troy Mueller, Holiday Inn Executive Center; and Chef Jeffrey Thomason, Capitol Plaza in Jefferson City.
This is the 24th year for national Taste of Elegance events. The National Pork Board sponsored the first event in 1987.
“We are proud to sponsor the Taste of Elegance events,” said Don Nikodim, executive vice president of the Missouri Pork Association. “Working with chefs to create new menu items, then promoting those items, helps build demand for pork, while introducing consumers to the product’s great taste.”
The Missouri Pork Association represents the state’s pork producers in the areas of promotion, research, education and legislation. For more information about this or any other programs of the Missouri Pork Association, go to www.mopork.com, or call the Missouri Pork Association office at (573) 445-8375.