The 9th annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival has come to an end and winners have been announced for the highly acclaimed Chef of the Fest Competition. The opposition was fierce; 32 chefs showcased their culinary flair with entrees that were scored on presentation, flavor, innovation, quality of product, and preparation in the allotted time. This year, the event was judged through a blind tasting, a first for the Wine & Food Festival. Judges included the San Diego Chapter of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), guest celebrity chefs, and other esteemed culinarians. A combined total of $50,000 in cash and prizes was awarded to the Chef of the Fest winners.
Grand prize winner, Tommy Fraiolli of Sea Rocket Bistro, was crowned Chef of the Fest this year, with his Deconstructed Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich made with Pork Cheek, Jalapeño, Cilantro, Carrots, Cucumbers, and Daikon. In 2nd place was Amy DiBiase of The Shores Restaurant, and in 3rd, Jon Sloan of Roy’s Restaurant. Anthony Sinsay of Burlap placed 4th, with Scott Thomas Dolbee close behind in 5th. Other finalists included Dustin Anslem of Jake’s Del Mar in 6th place, Neil Dandekar of Vela Restaurant in 7th, Aron Schwartz of Marina Kitchen in 8th, Stephen Window of Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar in 9th, and Nicholas Bour of Rancho Bernardo Inn placing 10th.
For the first time in the event’s history, the Wine & Food Festival presented a People’s Choice Award. This exciting, fresh twist gave attendees the opportunity to vote for their favorite Chef of the Fest via text. Chef Jaison Burke of the Restaurant at The Pearl Hotel swayed the tastes of the public with his mouth-watering Pumpernickel Duck featuring Duck Rillete, Black Russian Bread Crisp, Dijon Boursin, and Celery.
Winners were also named for five distinct food categories, including best poultry, vegetarian, seafood, meat, and dessert. In first place for poultry was chef Javier Placensias of Romesco Baja Med Bistro with his delectable Black Mole Turkey, Steamed Buns, Pickled Chayote and Preserved Kabocha, and Fermented Corn and Morita Chile Condiment. Eric Bauc Bauer of Veladora took the Vegetarian category, while Amy DiBiase from The Shores Restaurant prevailed for Seafood. For best meat dish, the award went to Tommy Fraioli of Sea Rocket Bistro and for Dessert, Aron Schwartz of Marina Kitchen.
The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is a thrilling annual event featuring a medley of international wine and gourmet food. With all of the ingenuity and passion of this year’s chefs, we are eager to behold the culinary masterpieces of next year. The 10th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival will be held November 13th-17th, 2013. See you there!
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