Local chefs go plate-to-plate at Bounty of the County competition | TheUnion.com

Local chefs go plate-to-plate at Bounty of the County competition

Area farms and ranches will donate the fixin’s, and local chefs will compete in the “Best Local Chef & Food Competition” at the Gold Miners Inn-Holiday Inn Express Sept. 21. Standing, left to right: Jacob Cooper and Will Orovitz from Matteo’s Public with Bitney Springs Farm Owner Chris Riccio, Terra Nyssa and Keira Buckbee from Briar Patch Co-op, Craig Day and Shana Maziarz from Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Company, Dawn Empson and Alan Tangren from Tess’ Kitchen Store. Kneeling, left to right: Christopher King from Summer Thyme’s and Patty Bielen from Back to Basics Farm.
Photo by Lorraine Jewett |


What: Bounty of the County

When: Wednesday, Sept. 21

5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: Gold Miners Inn-Holiday Inn Express, 121 Bank St., Grass Valley.

Advance tickets $25 at NevadaCountyGrown.org

$30 at the door

The decision facing voters in the Presidential election is certainly more difficult, but guests at the Fourth Annual Bounty of the County also face a tough choice.

Guests will taste magnificent meals and enjoy local wines and craft beers, then cast their votes in the “Best Local Chef & Food Competition” on Sept. 21.

“This year, we are pairing top local chefs with local farms. The farms are providing fresh produce and meat to the restaurants and caterers. Then each chef will create a spectacular dish to enter in our chefs’ competition,” explained event coordinator Ellen Cole. “Guests will sample all the amazing food, then cast their votes for the dishes that most delight their taste buds.”

The evening starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Gold Miners Inn-Holiday Inn Express in Grass Valley. Tasting and voting end at 7:30 p.m., and the winning restaurant and chef will be announced at 8 p.m.

Nearly a dozen restaurants are sending their chefs and sous chefs to the competition, and nearly as many local farms are donating ingredients. While some chefs won’t divulge what they plan to create, all insist they are eager to taste victory.

“The meals are going to blow your mind,” predicted Cole.

According to the Bounty of the County website, Ike’s Quarter Café in Nevada City will be serving roasted chicken with tomato and fennel bacon sauce, plus white cornbread laced with cheese and padron peppers.

Emily’s Catering and Cakes in Grass Valley will dish up a seared pork belly on creamy white polenta, blistered peppers, balsamic syrup, crispy pork skin shoestring fries, and for dessert, bourbon- and honey-roasted peaches with an oat-almond crumble and house-made crème fraiche.

“We love to feed people local, fresh food,” said Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Company owner Shana Maziarz, describing her restaurant’s entry of buttermilk polenta with Cajun-style pulled pork. Chef Craig Day added that some cooks rush through recipes, slicing and dicing. Not he: “It’s all about the spoon. Spoons take time; you’ve got to work at it.”

Tongue planted firmly in his cheek, Chef Will Orovitz reported he’s ready for the chef showdown.

“At Matteo’s Public, we take food seriously,” Orovitz said. “We’re going to put our competition through the grinder.”

Chef Alan Tangren from Tess’ Kitchen Store will dish up house-made buckwheat soba noodle salad at the event.

“Our noodles are going to ‘buck’ the competition,” he laughed.

Home-grown wines and craft beers will be offered for complimentary tasting and also sold at a no-host bar. The emphasis on “all things local” doesn’t end there. There will be an art exhibit showcasing local talent, including wood carvings, clay creations, jewelry, paintings, and photography. Guests can also bid on locally-produced items at a silent auction.

Event organizers hope at least 400 people will attend the event and help raise up to $15,000.

Proceeds will help fund a Nevada County Food Hub, a clearing house for the aggregation, distribution and marketing of local agricultural products. The Food Hub is the primary project of Nevada County Grown, a coalition of 60 local farmers and ranchers that sponsors Bounty of the County. See http://nevadacountygrown.org/bounty/ for more information.

Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. Contact her at LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com

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