Tony Beran, the executive chef at Lake Avenue Restaurant in Duluth, received first place, chef par excellence honors at the 25th annual Taste of Elegance pork culinary competition. The event, hosted by the Minnesota Pork Board (MPB) and the Pork Checkoff, took place Jan.15 at the Minneapolis Hilton. The Taste of Elegance showcases the versatility of pork and the creativity of chefs.
Judges awarded Beran first place for his recipe, Lipstick on a Pig. Beran received $1,500 in prize money and will represent the MPB at the 2013 National Pork Summit, an educational event at the Culinary Institute of America in Graystone, St. Helena, Calif. There were 15 chefs who took part in this year’s competition.
Beran’s pork recipe featured brined pork spareribs slow-baked in bacon BBQ consommé and then braised. He served the pork with his original recipes for corn jam, fried coleslaw made with pork brisket, and kale chips.
Beran is a two-time Taste of Elegance winner, placing first in 2008 when he worked as a chef at Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. His prior culinary experience also includes The Strip Club, Minneapolis, and Nokomis Restaurant, Duluth.
Benjamin McCallum, executive chef and co-owner of the catering and event planning company Three Sons Signature Cuisine, Minneapolis, earned second place, superior chef honors and $1,000 in prize money for his pork recipe, Three Sons Signature Charcuterie. McCallum’s charcuterie plate included a terrine prepared with pork shoulder, bacon, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese; a pate of pork and duck that were combined for rillettes; pork butt transformed into smoked chorizo sausage; and honey bacon toffee.
Brian Rubenzer, owner and chef of Lettuce Cater, Columbia Heights, earned third place, premium chef and $750 in prize money. Rubenzer prepared Adobo-Braised Pork Shoulder.
The 650 guests attending the Taste of Elegance evening award’s program selected Clinton Yocom’s Braised Pork Shoulder as the crowd favorite, earning him the People’s Choice Award and the $750 prize. Yocom is sous chef at the Marriott Hotel in Rochester.
In celebration of the Taste of Elegance 25th anniversary, winning chefs from previous years voted on their favorite pork recipe. The Chef’s Choice Award went to Tad Blackwell, chef de cuisine at Brackett’s Crossing Country Club, Lakeville. Blackwell prepared Fiery Pineapple-Glazed Pork Flat Iron with Applewood Bacon and Jarlsberg Potato Puffs.
Peter Christenson, executive chef for Woolley’s Restaurant, Bloomington, received $250 for the best evening table display.
Judges for the Taste of Elegance were last year’s winning chef, Tim Kovacs, executive chef for the Marquette Hotel’s Basil’s Restaurant and Marq VII Lounge, Minneapolis; Chef Steven Shapely, executive chef and instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Minneapolis; and Brian Bergquist, professor of hotel, restaurant and tourism management at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. The judges based their decisions on taste, appearance and originality of the pork dish.
Participating Taste of Elegance Chefs were:
Mark Beland, Sodexo Foodservice at Mayo Clinic, Rochester
Tony Beran, Lake Avenue Restaurant, Duluth
Tad Blackwell, Brackett’s Crossing Country Club, Lakeville
Peter Christenson, Woolley’s Restaurant, Bloomington
Daniel Cleary, Luzette Catering, Cottage Grove
Mark Crane, Sofitel Minneapolis, Bloomington
Steve Gustafson, Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center
Luke Hegerle, Hilton Minneapolis, Minneapolis
Justin Kaderlik, Bethel University, St. Paul
Benjamin McCallum, Three Sons Signature Cuisine, Minneapolis
Scott Nielsen, Grand Casino, Hinckley
Brian Rubenzer, Lettuce Cater, Columbia Heights
Kyle Stumpf, St. James Hotel, Red Wing
John Van House, Murray’s Restaurant, Minneapolis
Clinton Yocom, Marriott Hotel, Rochester
The Minnesota Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff work on behalf of the state’s 4,200 hog farmers on promotions that encourage pork consumption, research relating to the raising of hogs and pork quality, and education to help hog farmers raise their animals and to bring safe and wholesome pork products to the marketplace. The MPB is affiliated with the National Pork Board (NPB). Both the MPB and NPB programs receive USDA oversight.