Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo crew victorious at PPUG Garlic Fest

Posted By on Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM

As an advisory board member for Pikes Peak Urban Gardens, I helped organize and judge the chef's competition at last weekend's Garlic Fest at Summerland Gardens.

This year, Kevin Campbell of Full Circle Cuisine (the defending champion) and Nate Dirnberger of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo were joined by a third competitor, David McDonough of Adam's Mountain Café.  

Each team was allowed a helper as well. Campbell called on fellow chef Mark Henry from the Meat Locker. McDonough tapped café pastry chef Hilary McCandless Beard. And Dirnberger brought along some of his talented zoo staff for support, Andrew Warren (who cooked with him during the comp) and Justin Oxford (who helped pick ingredients from PPUG's Harlan Wolfe Ranch beforehand).  

TAPAteria and Pizzeria Rustica's Dave Brackett and McCabe's Greg Howard joined me as judges. 

All the competitors performed extremely well, and our judges' decision for best in show wasn't an easy one to make.

The Adam's crew's presentation and treatment of local veggies was simply tremendous, mirroring a lot of what the café has become known for. Henry and Campbell hit deep, soul-food notes with rich, heavy meat treatments — challenge ingredients were duck, pheasant sausage and pork loin — paired with brilliant garnishes. 

But ultimately, we awarded Dirnberger and company the win for an elegant, colorful plate with very nuanced but potent flavors, best highlighting the challenge ingredients as well as the mandatory garlic component. 

Below, you can view each dish prepared (Campbell and Henry opted to do three courses in the allotted time) with descriptions provided by the chefs. Plus some other shots from the comp. 
click to enlarge The winning team, claiming their trophy. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The winning team, claiming their trophy.
click to enlarge The winning dish: Blue corn, sweet corn and bean hash with brown butter and garlic salt. Baby carrots and orange-garlic pan-tossed duck breast with roasted tomato garlic cranberry compote. Fresh garden flowers, garden squash. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The winning dish: Blue corn, sweet corn and bean hash with brown butter and garlic salt. Baby carrots and orange-garlic pan-tossed duck breast with roasted tomato garlic cranberry compote. Fresh garden flowers, garden squash.
click to enlarge Chefs David McDonough and Hilary McCandless Beard from Adam's Mountain Café. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Chefs David McDonough and Hilary McCandless Beard from Adam's Mountain Café.


 
click to enlarge Adam's Mountain Cafe's dish: Pan-seared duck breast finished with soy sauce, duck confit and roasted garlic. Steamed local greens with toasted sesame oil. Tomato, roasted pepper, lemon cucumber and beans in a mustard vinaigrette. Baby carrots and golden beets in brown butter garlic. Curly raw turnip finished with minced chives. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Adam's Mountain Cafe's dish: Pan-seared duck breast finished with soy sauce, duck confit and roasted garlic. Steamed local greens with toasted sesame oil. Tomato, roasted pepper, lemon cucumber and beans in a mustard vinaigrette. Baby carrots and golden beets in brown butter garlic. Curly raw turnip finished with minced chives.
click to enlarge The Meat Locker's Mark Henry (left) with Full Circle Cuisine's Kevin Campbell. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The Meat Locker's Mark Henry (left) with Full Circle Cuisine's Kevin Campbell.
click to enlarge Campbell and Henry's first course: collard and heirloom tomato potlicker. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Campbell and Henry's first course: collard and heirloom tomato potlicker.
click to enlarge Campbell and Henry's second course: Chicharone-crusted duck breast with fingerling potato and beet hash, local greens salad. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Campbell and Henry's second course: Chicharone-crusted duck breast with fingerling potato and beet hash, local greens salad.
click to enlarge Campbell and Henry's third course:  Pheasant sausage, rendered duck and honey-mustard butter foam. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Campbell and Henry's third course: Pheasant sausage, rendered duck and honey-mustard butter foam.





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