Dinner Of Champions - These Guys Are Good!

Guess who just got back from a sweet gig on a guest judge panel for a chefs’ competition at TPC Sawgrass right here in Ponte Vedra? Your friendly local food bloggess, that's who!
I shared the honors with Jacksonville Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Joe White (no relation to Dan the man), Account Exec and Event Planner extraordinaire Carol Kinsey, also with Jacksonville Magazine, and Corporate Food and Bev Director for the PGA Tour, Bill DeGrafft. About 40 club members sampled and voted along with us.

Corn Crusted Halibut
Our host was TPC Sawgrass Executive Chef Hector Gonzalez. A preliminary contest among his talented team narrowed the field to three finalists. Sous Chef William Murphy, Chef Tournant Michael Tucker and Executive Sous Chef Cameron Walton battled it out in the club's Champions room for the chance to represent TPC Sawgrass as a member of Team Beaches at Great Chefs of Jacksonville II. 

Tonight's winner was Chef Murphy - whose tasty (and gluten-free) Corn Crusted Halibut, served with Roasted Tomatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Cauliflower Puree edged out the competition - giving him something to crow about when he shows up for work tomorrow. 

Crepinette of Duck with Apples and Sweet Potatoes
While the fish dish was great, no doubt, I was also quite taken with Chef Walton's Crepinette of Duck with Apples and Sweet Potatoes. The Crepinette used the duck breast, leg and liver, and was an excellent showing of classic technique, but what really transported me on this dish was the accompanying gratin of sweet potato and apples. Think haute cuisine meets comfort food. Bonus - we walked away with recipes for all these dishes! This gratin is one I will make for sure. It MIGHT even edge out the ubiquitous sweet potato casserole at my next Winter holiday gathering.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Stuffed French Toast
Chef Tucker threw us a tasty curve ball with his Maple Glazed Cinnamon Pumpkin Stuffed French Toast served with Amaretto Pecan Ice Cream and rum laced Vermont Coffee. Decadent for dessert or breakfast, it was warm, oozy, cinnamon-sweet and oh, so good to eat.

Great Chefs of Jacksonville II takes place at TPC  Sawgrass on Thursday, April 5. Tickets are $175 per person (and must be purchased in pairs).

A very few tickets remain to be sold, so if someone out there wants to share the love with their favorite Ponte Vedra food blogger, you’d better get crackin’ on those reservations!

Event proceeds benefit one of my favorite non-profit causes - Second Harvest.  My sources me they are planning some super foodie-themed silent auction items that night, so if anyone is going and hasn’t quite picked out my birthday present for September, you’re in luck there too!

Congrats to Chef Murphy, who joins Ted Peters from Azurea, David Medure from Restaurant Medure and Danny Groshell from Ocean 60 on Team Beaches.

Team City boasts Tom Gray from Bistro Aix, Matthew Medure from Matthew’s, Dennis Chan from Blue Bamboo and Scott Ostrander from ‘Town – and they’re looking for a win after last year’s victory by the bad boys from Team Beaches!   

Thanks to Jacksonville Magazine, Chef Gonzalez, and the crew at TPC Sawgrass for a fun evening of friendly competition and great food. I’ll definitely be back soon to check out Happy Hour at Nineteen!

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully I will be able to attend the next event, those dishes looked and sounded amazing!


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