James Matthew Wolff, executive chef at Innovative Gourmet Caterers, Owings Mills, Md., won top honors in the 6th annual Mid-Atlantic Taste of Elegance contest Nov. 14 in Baltimore, Md. The competition, sponsored by the Pork Checkoff and Iowa Pork Producers Association, featured 10 chefs.
A smoked pork loin and sweet potato martini served in a martini glass earned Wolff the title of Chef Par Excellence. He will now compete in the National Taste of Elegance competition in 2006, which will be held at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. He was also the recipient of the Peopleâ€™s Choice Award voted on by approximately 250 invited guests from the foodservice industry, media and related industry.
"The Taste of Elegance contest was created to encourage chefs to use pork in creative, non-traditional ways more often," states Howard Greenblatt, National Pork Board foodservice marketing manger. "Entrees were evaluated on taste, originality and creativity by a panel of four judges."
To help states like Maryland sponsor the Taste of Elegance event, Cargill supplied its premium branded pork from White Marble Farms.
"The Taste of Elegance program is an outstanding way to showcase pork to the culinary world," says Joe Linot, group brand manager/pork for Cargill Meat Solutions. "Working with cutting-edge chefs offers an invaluable way to demonstrate porkâ€™s versatility to consumers."
In addition, five Petite Sirah wineries including Concannon, EOS, Foppiano, Pedroncelli and Guenoc provided wine for the reception and the wine pairing for the event. Executive Chef Christopher Lewis from the Brass Elephant Restaurant was awarded a signed magnum of Foppiano Petite Sirah wine for winning best wine pairing.
The other place winners in the 2005 Mid-Atlantic Taste of Elegance contest were:
Second place â€“ "Asian Influenced Pork, 3 Ways", from Barry Rumsey, executive chef at the Bicycle Bistro, Baltimore, Md.
Third place â€“ "Grilled Asian Marinated Pork Chop with Chestnut Crust and Pomegranate Reduction", from Brian Boston, executive chef at the Milton Inn, Sparks, Md.