Our March 5th meeting at The Mint in Scottsdale, we held our first Mystery Basket Monday Chefs Competition focused on challenging and engaging our chefs competitors with a mystery basket of of food products and Alaskan beers. Through the different products and entrees, Chef Jessica Obie of Hyatt Regency Scottsdale directed the competitors through the competition and in the end, the winner was Chef Mark Ferguson of Robbie Fox’s Public House the winners. All the competitors really enjoyed the competition with ingredients such as sustainable tilapia from Sysco, popcorn, whole wheat tortilla chips produce from MOM and veal brains, competitors were able to step out of their cooking comfort zone.
We are grateful to both The Mint and for Andy Silvas with Alaskan Brewery for their support of our chapter. The Mint is a bank converted into an ultra lounge; it’s a beautiful well designed restaurant with a stunning open bar and patio. I met Alaskan Brewery at Phoenix Cooks last year and one of their marketing materials promoted my follow up. They have a Beer Pairing Guide I thought was a fantastic tool for taking the beer and food experience to an often over looked component of speciality brews. This makes it simple to develop a brew pub beer dinner; a marketing opportunity for operators to offer a specialty dinner without having the brewery.
The competitors used the Alaskan Brewery products in the competition yet Robert DeSantis of Points West combined a Stout with the Ghirardelli Brownies and showed us how the pairing made for some really moist and tasty brownies. Alaskan Brewery has partnered with Trident Seafood for Alaska Amber beer batter cod and halibut products; paired with produce from The 3000 Club’s Market on the Move attendees enjoyed a night out the patio networking and enjoying the evening.
This launched our first quarterly chef competition which is a key component of our marketing program; connecting chefs with food, vendors and each other. It brought a three new chefs to our meeting and our four competitors became friends. The event was received by all and we’re excited about our next Mystery Basket Monday Competition at Southwest Gas June 4th where we are going to be focusing on school foods for this one.
At each of our monthly meetings we are holding a 50/50 Drawing to raise money for our competitors prize money. We are also developing medals and working on building a grand finale event inviting the winners of each quarterly competition to compete.
We will need products for these events and working on our own “Competition Kits” so we have our own equipment . These competition kits will be filled with equipment and a dry pantry and the premise for this we need our own equipment for quarterly competition, supporting Market on the Move and our Student Chefs Association. Having our own equipment will allow our organizations the freedom to get out into our community to support and create event while expanding our opportunities to connect our industry. We are starting fundraising efforts to fund our equipment.
Thank you to all the sponsors of the event and the competitors; Chef Doug Jurecki BT’s Sports Pub, Chef Jeremy Butte of Sushi Roku, Chef Joe Wiggins of True Foods and Chef Mark Ferguson, Robbies Fox’s Public House.
Next meeting is May 7th at Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale with a goat and tamale demonstration, Arizona foods and a presentation of the ACF Presidential Medallion for the late Chef Web Evans by our regional President David Goodwin. 5-7 PM.
In the picture from left to right:
Chef Doug Jurecki BT’s Sports Pub, Chef Jeremy Butte of Sushi Roku, Chef Joe Wiggins of True Foods and Chef Mark Ferguson, Robbies Fox’s Public House.