Editor's note: This is the first in a four-part series covering the Second Annual Silver's Cup Chef's Challenge, which will have its final competition Feb. 26 at Seven Springs Winery. Follow the action of Lake Area ongoing challenge, which benefits the Lake Area Tri-County YMCA.
The Silver Cup Chef's Challenge sizzled again this year. About 75 people attended the second annual event Saturday at Seven Springs Winery to benefit the Tri-County YMCA in Osage Beach. Three local chefs competed to see who would advance to the final competition Feb. 26.
Saturday's competition was the first part of four.
The theme for the first competition was "Down on the Farm." Competing chefs included Jeff Carroll from Pickled Pete's, Joey Wilson from The Resort at Port Arrowhead and Tony Helmerichs from Bootlegger's. They prepared their best chicken dishes in anticipation of winning the day's event.
Participants of the event circled the room tasting each chef's creation while enjoying Seven Spring's wine.
Chef Joey Wilson from The Resort at Port Arrowhead won the first competition and will continue to the final competition. His winning cuisine was Chicken Cassoulet with a Roasted Garlic Crostini.
"I'm anxious to see who the competitors are going to be for the final competition," Wilson said when the event ended.
After sampling all of the dishes, participants voted for their favorite dish by dropping donations into a chef's ballot box. The People's Choice Award went to Jeff Carroll from Pickled Pete's.
"It was all very good," said participant Patti Lear from Camdenton, as she finished her last plate. "Though I couldn't choose just one winner. I liked certain items from each of the chef's entrees."
Chef Andre' from Ruthie D's was unable to attend the competition Saturday.
Judging this challenge was Devon Thompson, a recent culinary school graduate (and former Seven Springs employee); Jacqueline Wilson, culinary instructor at the Camdenton R-III School District; and Parrie Bayles, culinary instructor at School of the Osage.
"Last year we had local restaurant people judging and the competitors didn't think that was too kosher," said Nancy Kellstrom, event coordinator for Seven Springs Winery. "So we changed that part of the competition. It will more than likely continue to evolve, last year's was our first."
The second part of this year's competition is scheduled for Jan. 22. Four different chefs will be preparing pork dishes for the theme "Big City Nights."
The third part of the competition is scheduled for Feb. 5. The theme is "Ocean Side Cuisine" and will feature seafood dishes.
The last of the regular competitions will be held Feb. 19 with the theme "It's What's for Dinner." Beef dishes will be prepared at that event.
For the Feb. 26 final competition, "The Best of the Lake: Keeping it Local," winners from each of the previous sessions will be back to prepare another recipe. The dish can be whatever the winner prefers so long as it is representative of the Lake Area.
A portion of all proceeds will go to the Tri-County YMCA. Last year's Chef's Challenge raised $4,305 for the organization.
"With the economy the way it is, there are more families that need help. The money donated from this event will provide scholarships for children's summer camp," said Joanne Rutherford YMCA director. "This event is a good time, and I really enjoy it. Fantastic food, wonderful wines and a great fireplace to sit by and enjoy."
The YMCA also held a silent auction during the challenge with items such as golf clubs, cosmetics and a gas grill up for bid.
Tickets are $25 per person for each event and $45 per person for the final competition. Passports are available for $125, which include all competitions.
Tickets have not yet sold out, but the number of attendees is limited to 100 per competition. Call Seven Springs Winery at 573-317-0100 for more information or visit www.sevenspringswinery.com.