Chef Robert Balderrama, Saginaw Country Club earned best of show January 27 at the American Culinary Federation Flint/Saginaw Valley Chapter’s 24th annual Hot Food Competition, Michigan Live reported.
Balderrama’s best of show honor was chosen by public vote, and he received third place in the vegetarian division for his Deconstructed Mushroom Bourguignon, as well as a nod for his station’s décor, Live reported.
“I’m learning more about French cuisine,” said the chef of the Saginaw Charter Township, Mich., club. “But my favorite style is Modern American, along with Michigan contemporary, using the different techniques I’ve learned from cuisines around the world.”
Hundreds of people braved the cold to sample the 20 chefs’ creations. With seating at a premium, they wandered while juggling plates of Chocolate Truffle Cake, Chicken Roulade with Crepes and Black Truffles, and Dijon Pork with Lavender Polenta Cakes, Duxelle Sauce and Onion Marmalade, Live reported.
“It’s wonderful food; I didn’t taste anything I didn’t like,” said Executive Chef John Zehnder, who orchestrated the competition held at his Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth restaurant.
The event also closed the 2014 Zehnder’s Snowfest, giving guests another chance to view the snow and ice sculptures well-preserved in Frankenmuth’s falling temperatures.
The Saginaw East Side Soup Kitchen’s After School Meal Programs benefited from the night’s proceeds.