CONGRATULATIONS TO CHEF TREVOR – THE 2017 STELLA ARTOIS CHEF BATTLE ROYALE CHAMPION!
With a 13-year history of culinary competitions at the Taste of St. Louis, it has become increasingly more difficult to win, and we are seeing more and more extremely high scores by competing chefs. This year was no exception as we had - for the first time in the history of the event - 2 ties on the Stella Artois Culinary Stage.
The first tie happened in "Battle Tofu" where David Sandusky of BEAST Craft BBQ tied with Trevor Ploeger of Eleven Eleven Mississippi. While David's dish – chicken-fried Tofu – was extremely bold and creative, the tie-breaking judges (after 20 minutes of deliberation) gave the win to chef Trevor who created an Asian fusion dish with pork and mushroom broth and a slaw made of cucumber, pickled carrot, basil, pulled pork and corn puree. Chef Trevor used the secret ingredient - 314 Hot Sauce - in his Asian glaze, which was topped with Sesame-toasted cashews.
The two chefs had almost perfect scores in this battle!
Chef Trevor's second win was during "Battle Poussin" against Chef Matt Galati of The Dam. Galati made an impressive dish with homemade ramen with a meatball, made from the thigh. While he racked up points for creativity, the dish fell a tad short in scoring points for Taste, and Chef Trevor took the win, with a seared breast and fried drummy combo, layered with a parsnip puree, a simple micro-green salad with orange segments and fennel and a Poussin stock. He utilized the secret ingredient – Shiitake mushrooms – in two ways: caramelized and fried.
"I wanted to have the flavors of the Poussin show through, and kept the dish simple and classic", chef Trevor explained to the judges.
Finally, in "Battle Seafood and Stella", Chef Trevor and his sous chef Emily Novonty competed against Chef Scott Oglesby of St. Louis Country Club. Chef Scott did a beautiful dish of pan-seared Canary Rockfish with a seafood broth, Stella Artois-battered tempura and vegetables.
Chef Trevor's dish consisted of a mussel burre Blanc, squid-ink pasta and sautéed carrots. One again, Chef Trevor told the judges his goal was to stay simple and classic, and let the true ingredients shine through. He utilized the first secret ingredient – Monkfish liver – to create a light, fluffy mousse.
Both competitors used the second mystery ingredient - apple - as part of a slaw.
Once again – the two chefs tied – with almost a perfect score. Although chef Scott had a better scoring on his dessert, the tie-breaking judges determined that, since Chef Trevor had a slightly higher score on the entree and really did an amazing job with the seasoning of his dish, he would win by 1 point.
Taste of St. Louis Executive Chef, Vito Racanelli, Jr. said about this year's competition, "The passion that all of these chefs has was amazing. They fought hard - practiced intensely, and really focused hard. It truly was one of the most intense competitions we have had, and I was just so grateful to be a part of it!"
This year's battle came with a friendly wager – the loosing team (Chef Trevor and his sous chef) has to prepare a beer pairing dinner at the winning team's establishment, Eleven Eleven Mississippi, where the proceeds from the dinner go to Hurricane Relief Efforts. Stay tuned for the date and details of that event!