The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain presented their chefs with the opportunity to showcase their technical skills and creativity through the Masters of the Craft, a Marriott-based volunteer competition.
Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Mangione and newly-appointed Executive Chef Emily Dillport invited me to participate as one of three judges for the event! As you can imagine, I was excited to see the culinary team in action. I had the privilege to judge alongside Janos Wilder, Downtown Kitchen +
Cocktails restaurateur and James Beard Award recipient, and Ken Harvey,
Executive Chef of Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.
Seven chefs competed for their chance to advance to the regional level. Each brought forward their passion and specialties to craft and plate a dish in 30 minutes. Additionally, competitors were required to integrate the secret ingredient of buffalo tenderloin into their creations. The Chefs were judged and scored in the following sections: presentation, creativity, taste and showmanship.
After the timer started, the chefs setup their cooking stations and received five minutes to pick out their ingredients from the pantry! In five-minute waves, the chefs had 30 minutes to prepare and present the buffalo tenderloin in three tastings and a full-size portion.
Chef Jason was the first chef to present his dish and knew immediately what he wanted to make when he found out buffalo tenderloin was the secret ingredient.
Chef Devin created a buffalo tartare served with a caper-whipped cream.
Chef Alejandro crafted a green mole to pair with his seared buffalo tenderloin.
Chef Diego incorporated his Peruvian heritage into his plate. He also utilized jalapeños as an alternative for chili paste.
Chef Quinn used coconut milk and chili to create a chili-coconut sauce as the main flavors because he favors sweet and savory combinations. Additionally, his buffalo tenderloin was served with a hash.
Chef Paul’s buffalo tenderloin creation focused on his specialty: Asian cuisine. Fish sauce and soy sauce were of few of the flavors he used.
Chef Christian improvised upon hearing the mystery ingredient. After cutting the meat into medallions, he lightly seared the meat.
Before the plating began, I walked around the cooking stations to observe their thought process. Passion was present in all seven judges! I could ask one chef a question in the middle of his cooking and he would respond back with an eloquent answer.
As a judging panel, we selected Chef Christian Dyson as the winner for the 2019 Masters of the Craft competition! The talent of the Dove Mountain team was apparent, I recognized and loved how each chef created something unique and in his own style. All plates were beautiful and well-balanced in flavor, but what impressed me most was their passion!
I appreciated the opportunity to judge such an engaging event with one of my favorite places in Tucson. Good luck to Chef Christian Dyson as he competes against Marriott chefs at regionals!