Now that we have January under control and everyone is gearing up for Valentines Day, I wanted to share with you the most recent culinary battle that Chef Stormy and I entered and won a $3,500.00 donation to The Wounded Warrior Project! We were representing the Presidential Culinary Museum at The Inn of the Patriots and made our famous Egg Nog Chicken over Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar and Poached Comice Apples. We served it with Vanilla Butter Gravy.
Ingles Markets shot the “Holiday Homecoming” program at A-B Tech’s Asheville campus on Nov. 14 located in Fernihurst, an 1870s mansion once the center of social activity for the township of Victoria. $5,000 went to local nonprofits at the end. Four of Ingles All Star chefs came from as far away as Georgia and South Carolina battling for a local charity. Ingles advertising director Melissa Leavell was proud to see us all throw down and Leah McGrath stopped by also. A-B Tech has an amazing culinary arts program that I have witnessed and filmed at the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. A-B Tech communications specialist Martha Ball, “felt the experience added to students’ education,” “They were very competitive in the kitchen against one another!”
Each entry had 90 minutes to cook with all ingredients from Ingles. 20 student judges surprised many – when it was announced there would be no famous judges showing up from renowned Asheville restaurants, the Biltmore and The Grove Park Inn – instead they wanted to level the playing field and bring in students to judge fairly. I think that many of us thought this would be handled just like the shows on TV so it truly seemed fair when this was revealed. The students truly know good food. Our victory won a $3,500 donation for the Wounded Warrior Project.
- Chef Derek St. Romain, executive chef at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center – sausage-stuffed chicken breast playing for Backyard Bow Pro.
- Gigi Stewart, publisher of Food Solutions magazine – gluten-free cinnamon pull-apart bread playing for MANNA Food Bank.
- Lindsay Moore, author at justalittleorganic.com – vegan sweet potato casserole playing for Eblen Charities.
The battle was aired on WLOS ABC Television affiliate and the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce was proud to see what a team, from their county, could do. Jackie Sibley, Cleveland County Director of Tourism told us, “this win, your recent appearance on PBS television and as a prize on Wheel of Fortune all contributed to being nominated for the 2014 Travel Industry of the Year Award.”
As Big Al the Sailors Pal (Admiral Konetzni) used to always say, “Keep charging!”
The author is a disabled, injured military veteran that supports veteran issues and is a paid contractor filming a number of episodes with Ingles Markets for TV and webisodes.