Team Ooh La La Wins Final Round of Ultimate Chef

Photos by Don Parenta

On Saturday, January 28th, our chefs returned to the battle grounds at Chef Central to compete in the final round of Ultimate Chef Bergen County. Secret ingredient: Jack Daniels. The competition: Chef Laurie Cera of 5 Sessions Bistro. The chefs had one hour to prepare a 4 course meal, utilizing the secret ingredient in each dish. It was a packed house and a very exciting afternoon.

Our team put together a loud menu for this loud ingredient. So they use ingredients like grapefruit, pecans, pork, pineapple, coffee, ginger, and horseradish – and used techniques like stove-top smoking and caramelizing to bring out the slightly burnt, caramel and woody characteristics of this Tennessee whiskey. Ooh La La’s menu had a strong southern influence throughout the 4 courses — pork belly, grits, ribs, Carolina BBQ sauce, corn bread, smoked trout and even ending with sour cream ice cream.

Team Ooh La La took home the gold and Chef Ninamarie won the title of the Ultimate Chef Bergen County 2012. Chef Laurie was a fierce competitor and put out beautiful and delectable dishes.
The Judges included Certified Master Chef Thomas Griffiths, Rosie Saferstein of Table Hopping with Rosie and Michele DePietro of Whole Foods Market. A big thank you to the culinary director of Chef Central who is the creator and backbone of this annual competition, Chef Jim Edwards and to his right hand lady, Chef Andrea. Thank you to all who came and supported the event and to Whole Foods in Ridgewood for their sponsorship.

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