Another gorgeous day, and another art festival here in Stuart. We spent a lot of time wandering around and we picked up a few more prints for our walls. With the exception of our bedroom and the larger bathroom, the walls are pretty much full!
After we wandered, we grabbed a front row seat for some folk music. Blue sky, bright sun, lovely breeze - it was wonderful. When the music ended, we stayed seated because Stuart was going to have its first ever "Chopped" competition. I was sorry that I didn't have my camera with me, but still snapped away with my phone.
Like the Food Network show of the same name, four local chefs were going to compete for the top prize, while the other remaining three are "chopped". Each chef was provided with a bag of secret ingredients (all four had the same things). Those ingredients were:
- strawberries and blueberries (they had to use one or both)
- balsamic vinegar
- brown fennel
In addition to these ingredients, there were numerous other general ingredients that each contestant could choose from. Each also had a large, individual table, complete with sauté' and saucepans, bowls, knives and gas burners. The clock was set for 60 minutes and the competition began!
A local radio station had an announcer who was closely following each chef's progress, and reporting to the audience. It was all quite festive. At the end of the 60 minutes, the three judges tallied their individual scores (based on things like presentation, and of course, taste). In the end, they announced the winner of the golden chef statue - Eric Grutka of Ian's Tropical Grill (pictured above).
I confess that we were rooting for Eric all along because he hails from our neck of the woods - Syracuse, and then Lansing, NY. Eric actually prepared a few different dishes, which none of the other contestants did. One was a ceviche of flounder marinated in lime, grapefruit, fennel and cashews. Another was a sashimi of flounder topped with a pesto blending all of the required ingredients. Lastly, his main course consisted of pan-seared flounder in oil and butter with a miso cream sauce of honey, cashews, strawberries, fennel and capers. Phew! Sadly, there were no audience samples. Regardless, it was fun to watch!