Long Branch Chef’s Challenge 2010

On April 29th, the Long Branch Chamber of Commerce held their First Annual Long Branch Chef’s Challenge at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa.  Very Iron Chef – esque, wouldn’t you say?  The Chef’s brought their A Game and Jersey Bites was there to sample some amazing food.

While Chef Zappoli from Tre Amici, deserved the People’s Choice Award for his Fossil Farms Jersey Raised Rabbitt Agnolotti (it was amazing) there were many dishes and Chefs deserving mention.

One of my favorites was the Encrusted Sea Bass over sauteed Leeks by Pat Conte Catering.   Topped with some oven roasted grape tomatoes, this was a perfectly executed dish.  The fish was encrusted with Jersey fresh herbs and cooked to perfection.

Sawa’s Two Way Tuna was a real stand out.  As you can see, this dish was beautifully presented and equally delicious.

Another crowd pleaser was the gourmet Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese by Chow Haul. Chow Haul is a mobile gourmet kitchen run by Chef Paul Fried and Chef Nathan Haynes.  These little beauties reminded me of the gummy hamburgers my kids like so much, but they were grown-up delicious and made everyone smile.

As the event was winding down, attendees were reminded to cast their votes on the ballot located at the back of our programs.  Then the judges had their say.  The judging panel included Chef Chris Brandl, Chef and Owner of Brandl in Belmar, Debbie George from Food and Wine Magazine, and Michael Sirianni, Principal/Director for the Monmouth County Vocational District.

After much tasting and comparing notes, the judges awarded the title of Best Dish to Chef Dennis Teo and his team from Ocean Place Resort and Spa for their elegant Fluke.  Of course, I do not have the exact name of the winning dish.  My camera skills failed me. Check out the picture I took of their sign.  Damn napkins.

Congratulations to all the participants in the first of many Long Branch Chef’s Challenges.  It was a wonderful way to sample bites from each restaurant and to meet the Chefs behind the dishes. Bravo.

Deborah Smith is the Founder and Managing Editor of JerseyBites.com.  Launched in 2007 as a home for her growing collection of recipes, Jersey Bites soon grew into a hub for all things edible in the Garden State. Deborah is also the owner of Parents With Nannies, Inc. which operates a network of nanny employment websites established in 1999.  In her spare time, (Ha) she works as a Social Media consultant and speaker.  You can learn more about her services and marketing through social media on her blog www.DeborahLSmith.com