Deshcutes Chef Challenge

Marissa | December 27th, 2011

While Portland may be a small place and sometimes feel more like a town than a city, what we lack in bright lights and skyscrapers we make up for by leaps and bounds in the culinary department. The amount of tasty restaurants in this place are impossible to count. Also countless are the amount farm-to-table, locally responsible chefs in our City Of Roses. Big shot among them being Jason French of Ned Ludd who competed in what was a fun filled night of beer pairing, competition, camaraderie and…proposal. Yes the Deschutes Chef Challenge brought out people from all walks of Portland life. The judges included Tracy Howard, associate editor of Imbibe Magazine, Steve Body, author of Seattle P.I.’s beer blog, The Pour Fool, Sal Zizzo, Potland Timber and owner of Zizzo’s Food Cart, Caprial, Caprial + John The Kitchen, and Gary Fish, owner of Deschutes Brewery.

The menu, chefs, and beer they were paired with are as followed:

Chef Jason French from Ned Ludd
*Turkey Confit with Polenta, Hazelnuts and Pickled Cranberries
– Paired with Jubelale

Chef Gavin Ledson from Davis Street Tavern
*Banana Braised Pork Jowl Banh Mi with Chainbreaker Wort Pickled Carrot, Daikon Root & House Pate
– Paired with Chainbreaker White IPA

Chef Sarah Schafer from Irving Street Kitchen
*Spice Seared Sea Scallops with Pork Belly, Black Eyed Peas, and Bourbon Mustard Jus
– Paired with The Stoic

Chef Paul Bachand from Recipe
*Hand Formed Duck Fat Sope with Crispy Duck “Carnitas”, Smoked Hazelnut Mole and The Abyss Creme Fraiche
– Paired with The Abyss

Chef John Eisenhart from Pazzo Ristorante
*Veal Cheeks with Moscato, Candy Cap & Savoy Cabage
– Paired with Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Chefs Jeff Usinowicz from Deschutes Brewery
*Dry Aged Baby Back Ribs with Tart Cherry BBQ Sauce, Yam Goat Cheese Croquettes, Roasted Onion Salad
– Paired with Armory XPA

The place was packed; I couldn’t see any open seats in the large dining room. Everyone was having a great time when a lovely romantic surprise happened at the end of the night. Taken from a gentleman’s love of Deschutes beer and his girlfriend, he proposed to her before dessert and (spoiler alert) she said yes! I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t get teary eyed for a second. In short, I ate a lot of pig cooked confit, meaning “in fat”. The six courses were all amazing in there own right, and while I couldn’t finish any of them they were some of the tastiest things I’ve had in months – I surely don’t need to eat again until 2012.


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