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Pork Culinary Competition Celebrates 25 Years

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A 68-page, complimentary Taste of Elegance Recipe Book that features the 2013 participating chefs’ pork recipes is available by emailing name and mailing address to or by calling (507) 345-8814. When ordering, please include Taste of Elegance recipe book in the email subject line.
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.

Taste of Elegance Sponsors
Gislason & Hunter LLC
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.
Rabo AgriFinance
Hubbard Feeds

Taste of Elegance
Competing Chefs

Mark Beland  |  Tony Beran  |  Tad Blackwell
Peter Christenson  |  Daniel Cleary  |  Mark Crane
Steve Gustafson  |  Luke Hegerle  |  Justin Kaderlik
Tom Kavanaugh  |  Benjamin McCallum  |  Scott Nielsen
Brian Rubenzer  |  Kyle Stumpf  |  Stephen Tuccitto
John Van House  |  Clinton Yocom

Mark Beland
Sodexo Foodservice at Mayo Clinic
1216 Second Street Southwest

Tony Beran
Lake Avenue Restaurant
 394 South Lake Avene

Tad Blackwell
Brackett’s Crossing Country Club
17976 Judicial Road

Peter Christenson
Woolley’s Restaurant
7901 34th Avenue South

Daniel Cleary
Luzette Catering
7600 Ideal Avenue South
Cottage Grove

Mark Crane
Sofitel Minneapolis
5601 West 78th Street


Steve Gustafson
Earle Brown Heritage Center
6155 Earle Brown Drive
Brooklyn Center

Luke Hegerle
Hilton Minneapolis
1001 Marquette Avenue South

Justin Kaderlik
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Drive
St Paul

Tom Kavanaugh
Kavanaugh Culinary
1686 Kavanaugh Drive
East Gull Lake

Benjamin McCallum
Three Sons Signature Cuisine
2322 Blaisdell Avenue South

Scott Nielsen
Grand Casino Hinckley
777 Lady Luck Drive

Brian Rubenzer

Lettuce Cater
1000 Downing Street
Columbia Heights

Kyle Stumpf
St. James Hotel
406 Main Street
Red Wing
Stephen Tuccitto
Southview Country Club
239 East Mendota Road
West St. Paul

John Van House

Murray’s Restaurant
26 South Sixth Street

Clinton Yocom
Rochester Marriott Mayo Clinic
101 First Avenue Southwest
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