By Matt Meadows, executive chef, Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf
The third annual Riverside Culinary Classic was held recently and, as usual, the state’s largest Culinary competition was a success with approximately 400 guests; 45 culinary competitors; over $12,000 of cash , medals and awards; and 21 of the Iowa’s most prestigious culinary judges. Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf and Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo both participated and brought home the most medals: 7 medals in all, including one gold medal, two silver, three bronze and a third place in the local foods category.
Competing at this level takes dedication, creativity and skill. Judging criteria for this event included how the recipe was written, how it was executed , presentation and creativity. Every time a culinarian competes it is a great learning experience because every year the food world challenges us with new products , techniques and styles.
Chef Barry Greenbergh, CEC, executive chef of The University of Iowa finally won the $ 2500 best of show prize this year after trying for three years to get to the top. Chef Barry executed his trio of duck perfectly – Roulade of duck, with duck liver Brule and crispy duck wonton.
Brian Hamilton and Lisa Larson from Calypso’s Buffet competed for the first time and gave it their all. Brian finished third with his pan seared duck, savory bread pudding, asparagus and raspberries. Lisa finished in the middle of the field of nine and is determined to return next year with a vengeance.
Chef Jason Gomez from Isle Bettendorf walked away with two awards placing in the “beef category” with his seared Grass Run Farms’ New York strip, caramel jus, bone marrow and Brussels sprout salad. He also received an award for his use of local Iowa ingredients. Chef Sam Voss came home with gold his first year out with his seared striped bass and fennel slaw and was in the running for the best of show award.
All in all it was a successful evening for all Isle chefs and culinarians and plans are already in motion to dominate next year’s event . Again.
Spring Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette
.5 lb Brussels sprout leaves, blanched and chilled
.5 lb baby carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
.5 lb fingerling potatoes, cut into ¼ inch rounds and blanched
.5 lb fava beans, shield and blanched
.5 lb white asparagus, peeled and cross cut
1 tablespoon red bell pepper, brounoise cut
1 tablespoon red onion, brounoise cut
Combine ingredients and dress with vinaigrette.
4 oz. Miller’s Apricot Spread (Kalona, Iowa)
4 oz. extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. apple cider vinaigrette
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste