Seven talented chefs working on seven fantastic outdoor grills to produce summer fare with savoir faire
Mountain High Appliance carries grilling enthusiasts’ dream units — six swank stainless steel outdoor cooking stations and also the Big Green Egg, a ceramic grill and smoker whose provenance is the Far East. On Thursday evening, June 9, Mountain High turned its parking lot into a playing field where seven professional, amateur and student chefs competed in what has become an annual Grill-Off. They were each given an “assistant,” who in reality was a sales person for that brand. I was one of three judges evaluating what came off their grills. The variety and the quality were amazing, and once again, picking a winner (or two or three) was a challenge.
Not only were the dishes varied, but so were the chefs’ credentials. Out of the seven contestants (I’m counting the Brauns couple as one), there was a chef at one of the finest of Denver’s fine dining restaurants, three culinary arts students including one from the Western Slope (the
far Western Slope, in fact), an award-winning caterer and a couple who publish a magazine.
The Chefs, The Dishes & The Grills
- Joe Christensen, McCormick’s Restaurant & Fish House, Denver; Grilled ribeye “crustini” with mushrooms, caramelized onions and horseradish cream sauce made on a DACOR grill with German potato salad on the side.
- Stephen & Jennifer Brauns, Indulge in Denver magazine; Indulgent Pork Tenderloin with mango curry and grilled peppers Paremsan made on a DCS grill.
- DeWade Jones, Mesa State Culinary Arts Program (student), Grand Junction; hot sugar chicken wings and also dessert pizza with cream cheese, strawberries and kiwi made on a Lynx grill.
- Alberto Soto, Restaurant Kevin Taylor, Denver; grilled lamb ribs with grilled orange gastrique, fried scallions and grilled king oyster mushroom made on an Alfresco grill.
- Mark Morton, Johnson & Wales University culinary student working at Red Rocks Country Club, Morrison; barbecued jerk chicken with Caribbean grilled vegetables made on Wolf grill.
- Brandon Durio, American Culinary Federation apprentice working at Morning Star Assisted Living, metro Denvcr; smoky Shanghai sausage pizza made on a Viking grill.
- Ted Strauch, Epicurean Catering, Centennial; paella-style smoked meatloaf with saffron red pepper couli and also grilled S’mores quesadilla (sugar tortilla, hazelnut spread, marshallow, plantain tostones with cinnamon rum whipped cream made on The Big Green Egg.
The winners for the top entree were Soto and (honorable mention) Strauch. Best appetizer was Jones’s chicken wings. The People’s Choice winner was Christensen.
Mountain High Appliance, where you can see these outdoor appliances up close and personal, is at 1130 Pine St., Louisville; 303-665-6850. They also have Western Slope locations in Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs.