RECIPE FEATURING PORK SHANK WINS ANNUAL PORK EVENT
, sous chef at Heidi’s Minneapolis
, received first place, chef par excellence, at the 2010 Minnesota Pork Board’s Taste of Elegance competition. Judges awarded Vlach first place for his recipe, Spiced Slow-Cooked Pork Shank with Gremolata and Black Beluga Lentil Tomato Stew
The 22nd annual Minnesota Taste of Elegance competition took place Jan. 19 at the Minneapolis Hilton. The pork competition is hosted by the Minnesota Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff on behalf of Minnesota’s pork producers. The event showcases the versatility of pork, the creativity of chefs and promotes the inclusion of pork on restaurant menus.
Vlach’s pork entrée highlighted slowly braised pork shank seasoned with gingerroot, lemon zest, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne and fennel seed. Vlach plated the pork shank with complimentary-seasoned black beluga lentils, which are small beans that resembles beluga caviar after cooking, and a showy original gremolata recipe flavored with chopped raisins, capers, shallots, parsley and mint.
Vlach received $1,500 in prize money and will represent the Minnesota Pork Board at the National Taste of Elegance this spring in Baltimore, Md.
Tom Kavanaugh, co-owner and chef of Kavanaugh’s Sylvan Lake Resort, East Gull Lake, earned second place, superior chef, and $1,000 in prize money, for his original pork recipe, Uova Con Pancetta E Salsiccia Di Fegato Di Maiale (Bacon and Eggs with Pork Liver). This entrée utilized pork belly, pork shoulder and pork liver.
Serge Devesa, executive chef for Hotel Sofitel, Bloomington, placed third, premium chef, to earn $750 in prize money. Devesa prepared Duo of Maple-Glazed Pork Belly and Sweetbread Roulade Calvados Reduction and Crackling. The plated dish showcased pan-seared pork belly cut into squares and roulade prepared with pork loin and prosciutto.
The People’s Choice Award went to Derek Black, an executive chef for Sodexo at the St. Paul-based company Ecolab. After sampling all the pork entrées, the 500 guests at the evening award’s program selected Black’s deliciously fun recipe, Carnitas with Cones and Lemongrass-Scented Rice and Kimchee, for the People’s Choice Award. Black received $750 for his recipe featuring15 seasonings and pulled pork prepared from pork butt.
Tim Cockram, executive chef and director of food and beverage operations at the Owatonna Country Club in Owatonna received the $250 best table display award.
This year’s judges were Dr. Brian Bergquist, a professor in the hotel, restaurant and tourism management program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout; Stephan Hesse, last year’s Minnesota and National Taste of Elegance winner and executive chef at Kona Grill, Eden Prairie, and Charlie Torgerson, a National Pork Board Celebrated Chef, restaurant consultant and restaurant owner. The judges based their decisions on taste, appearance and originality of the pork dish.