SIOUX FALLS - The South Dakota Pork Producers Council held their 25th Annual Taste of Elegance competition on March 24, 2013 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The Taste of Elegance Competition is one of the pork industry's premier events in the food service industry. This year's first place winning entre, Porketta Reconstructed, featured pork cuts of cheek and belly prepared by Chef Daniel Myers; a Chef at Crawford's, Sioux Falls. This was Chef Daniel's second time competing in South Dakota's Taste of Elegance. Meyers won the competition in 2011 with his dish of Saffron Pork.
The winning dish had a beautiful subtle cherry smoke aroma that warmed up the taste buds as soon as it was presented to judges. The petite tender was complimented by the peppery homemade pancetta. The tortellini w/ cheek was nicely seasoned and the crispy ear balanced the textures of the other pork beautifully. A Pork Paradise under a smoky dome bell! Charlie Torgerson, Celebrated Chef/Director of Culinary for Famous Dave's of America.
All the judges agreed that the first place pork dish this year, 2013 was excellent in the cooking of the various cuts of pork, the flavors and the tightness of the overall concept. It delivered on all fronts. But there was something evident in this year's competition that almost was more important than the winner and that is that all three judges thought that the chefs in this part of the country have become a force to deal with in their many recipes and techniques that have grown strongly and firmly into good cooking. The kitchen gladiators in the 2013 Taste of Elegance hit a milestone that demonstrated as a group they know how to cook pork and have been listening, engage and continuously press to become better at what they do and present. The judges respect their growth and applaud their vigor growing into quality. With all respect we say, thank you, thank you very much. The pig salutes you! stated Michael Foley, Celebrated Chef and judge.
Myers received an engraved crystal award, $1,000, and will attend the Pork Summit that will be held in St. Helena, California in the Napa Valley at the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone Campus. Winning chefs will have the opportunity to spend the weekend with Celebrity Chefs and Celebrated Chefs. They'll experience butchering and cooking demonstrations and work alongside the Celebrated Chefs in Greystone's world famous teaching kitchens. The Pork Summit will be held on April 26 - April 28, 2013.
Chef Todd O'Riley of Dakota Sioux Casino, Watertown, had his first experience of competing at the South Dakota Taste of Elegance. This year he received 2nd place in the 2013 competition with Kukuse Kata (Spicy Pork Belly Confit served with Cranberry Relish, Crme Fraiche and Candied Bacon), and Chef Michael DeLay of Trail Ridge Retirement Community, Sioux Falls received 3rd place with Southeast Asian Pork.
The Taste of Elegance is a culinary competition that encourages chefs to create innovative and exciting recipes using pork. A panel of three esteemed judges, including Celebrated Chef Charlie Torgerson, VP Operations/Owner/Operator of three Famous Dave's Franchises and Owner of American Restaurant Consultants; St Paul, MN, Celebrated Chef Tim McCarty, Mayo Foundation House; Rochester, MN, and Celebrated Chef Michael Foley, Chicago, IL judged the entres of 12 chefs based on originality, appearance and taste.
The chefs prepared samples of their entres for an evening event that had sold out almost a month in advance. Nearly 800 people attended this year's Taste of Elegance Contest at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. Catalan Style Heirloom Pulled Pork Sofrito and Bacon Risotto prepared by Chef John Gilbertson of Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, received the People's Choice Award and $250 & a engraved crystal award. The People's Choice Runner-Up winner was Chef Jean-Paul Nielsen of Dakota Dunes Country Club, Dakota Dunes creating Stuffed Tenderloin of Pork with Creamed Savoy Cabbage. Guests also voted on the best display presentation by the chefs. Chef Sam Brink of Minnehaha Country Club, Sioux Falls received $100 and the Best Display Award.
Other participating chefs included Chef Chef Joe Cooper from Good Samaritan Society, Sioux Falls; Chef Josh Kranz from Mitchell Technical Institute, Mitchell; Chef Jesse Schunneman and Chef Chris Oines from Ground Round, Brookings; Chef Ryan Tracy from Bro's Brasserie Americano, Sioux Falls; Chef Phuvadohl Leeraksakiat from Minerva's; Aberdeen and Chef Patrick Parker from 1481 Grille; Arlington.