Patrick Browne, executive chef at Lasher’s in Long Beach, and Gregory Paul, a sous chef at L’Orangerie in Los Angeles, won the top prizes Sept. 11 in the finals of the L.A. County Fair’s inaugural Chefs on the Rise competition. Browne won in the white wine category and Paul in the red wine. Each received a gold medal and a $1,000 cash prize.
Four semi-finalists peeled, chopped, sliced, diced, marinated and sautéed in front of a live audience at the ConAgra Foods Gourmet Kitchen the opening weekend of the Fair. A few lucky Fairguests were able to sample duck and macaroni and cheese with lobster. Contestants had to pair their dishes with an assigned white wine, red wine and olive oil.
Browne also won best food demonstration. Paul received top honors for best use of olive oil. Chefs Jennifer Shen and Robert Harrison were the other two contestants.
Chefs on the Rise held its first competition May 14 at the Collins School of Hospitality Management on the campus of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The Fair established the competition to recognize and honor up-and-coming chefs who are particularly skilled at pairing wine and food. Chefs on the Rise is a celebration of the role that fine wine and food plays in the enhancement of our lives. Judges looked for recipes that effectively blended flavor and textural elements of wine and food and featured ingredients and instructions that could easily be replicated by home cooks. The competition was open to professional chefs who work in public restaurants in Southern California and have not held an executive chef position for more than one year.
Recipes are available in full on the Web site, www.lacountyfair.com.