Today I covered the final competition for Minnesota Monthly’s Chef Challenge at the Mall of Amercia. The challenge used to occur during their Food and Wine Show, but because of the fan following, the event gets it’s own weekend.
The Mall of America rotunda was decked out with a lovely duel kitchen and each chef faced off. They were given a basket of four surprise ingredients and 45 minutes to create. With today’s competitions, ingredients like ginger snaps were to be paired with bison, and kumquats with crunchy chowmein noodles. To see the blow by blow as the day went on, be sure to check twitter’s hashtag #chefchallenge…many local foodies attended and kept a running comentary going.
Chef JD Fratzke from The Strip Club and Chef Vincent Francoual of Vincents – A Restaurant were the finalists. With $10,000 as the prize, tension was high. It also turned out that JD worked for Vincent for two years in the late nineties, so they had a fun banter going back and forth as they created their desserts. The 185 seats in the rotunda was full of supporters and people crowded around the balconies looking down into the “kitchen”. The chefs worked quickly and efficiently, tweaking their desserts as they went. They had to make sure to not only use all four surprise ingredients but to use them creatively and plate their creation beautifully. When time was up, the chef’s hugged each other and shared a beer…it had been a long weekend for both! And then the winner was declaired…Chef Vincent!
Click here to learn all about the event, and support your local chefs! I can’t wait for next year =) Here are a few images, enjoy!