Brandon Gross, Executive Sous Chef of The Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington (D.C), won the Mystery Basket competition at the 10th annual Chef to Chef Conference in Seattle.
On March 5th, 2018, attendees of the 2018 Chef to Chef Conference in Seattle gathered during the Monday night reception to watch four talented club chefs race the clock to create dazzling dishes using a mystery basket of ingredients.
Participants included Thomas Mitchell of Kenwood Golf & Country Club, Bethesda, Md.; James Haberstroh of Glen Ridge (N.J.) Country Club; Brandon Gross of The Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington (D.C.); and Brittany Gambrell of Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, N.C.
After three exciting rounds, Gross, who assisted The Metropolitan Club’s Executive Chef Vincent Horville the following day during a presentation featuring new spins on old classics, emerged as the winner, earning a Vitamix blender in the process.
The first dish that Gross prepared, in his semi-final faceoff with Mitchell, was a paprika and coriander-crusted salmon with roasted vegetables over a crispy Spanish-style fried rice.
His second dish for the finals competition, vs. Gambrell, was a rosemary-roasted lamb-loin with beluga lentils and blood orange, sautéed Swiss chard, charred radicchio, tri-colored cauliflower and a Cabernet lamb jus.
For finishing as the runnerup, Gambrell earned a $200 certificate that can be used toward registration at a future Chef to Chef Conference.
“The Mystery Basket experience was unlike anything I’ve ever done before,” says Gross. “I had to prepare multiple dishes using surprise ingredients in front of 250 peers in real time. I’ve never done anything more challenging—but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
As a new twist to the 2018 competition, each dish was judged by a select team of taste testers, including Jerry Schreck, Executive Chef of Merion Golf Club (Ardmore, Pa.) and National Program Coordinator for the Chef to Chef Conference; Marshall Violante, Executive Chef of the Saddle and Cycle Club of Chicago, and Eric Floyd, Executive Chef of Washington Athletic Club in Seattle and this year’s Local Conference Coordinator.
The Mystery Basket competition was held after the Conference’s first full day of educational sessions from chef presenters. After the competition and reception concluded, attendees had the evening free to explore Seattle’s local culinary scene.
Other networking opportunities during the Conference for attendees, beyond the Monday evening reception and Mystery Basket competition, included Sunday night’s opening reception prior to a plated dinner and the Conference’s keynote address by Brad Barnes, CMC, CCA, AAC, Director of Consulting and Industry Programs at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.; breakfasts, lunches and breaks during each day of Conference sessions; and the popular nightly “Chef to Chef Lounge,” where many Conference participants got together to wrap up each day in lively and relaxing fashion.
A full report on all of the Seattle presentations can be found in the April 2018 issue of Club & Resort Business.
Attendees in Seattle were thrilled to hear at the end of the Conference that the 11th Annual Chef to Chef Conference—and a new Mystery Basket competition—will be marked by a return to New Orleans, site of the 2012 Conference.
The 2019 Conference will be held March 10-12, 2019. Visit www.Chef toChefConference.com later this year for registration information and other details about the 2019 Conference as they are announced.