During my original stint at Paws Up, we introduced the Montana Master Chefs event to rave reviews and ecstatic guests. The timing of my return was impeccable as my first weekend back happened to be the 3rd annual Montana Master Chefs event. This years event was amazing, with Chef Bradley Ogden of the Lark Creek Restaurant Group, Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, the Resort’s own Wes Coffel as well as Bravo TV’s Top Chefs: Stephanie Izard and Casey Thompson. The Vintners were of equal stature with Richard & Anita Funk of Saviah Cellars, Cyril & Blakesley Chappellet of Chappellet Vineyard & Winery and Pete Przybylinski of Duckhorn Wine Company. One of my ‘tiresome’ tasks as GM is that my wife and I have to attend each and every dinner and are forced to consume great quantities of fine food and exceptional wine. The highlights, gastronomically speaking, of the event for me were Wes’ Roast Squab with Compressed Dixon Melon, the ’06 Duckhorn Merlot, Daniel’s Nova Scotia Lobster and his amazing dessert that paired so beautifully with Saviah’s ‘06 Une Vallée Walla Walla Valley Red Wine, and Bradley’s Short Rib & Veal Sweetbreads with the ‘05 Chappellet Signature Cabernet.
I also had the opportunity to again, be the MC for The Top Chef Cook Off Challenge. This year’s competition featured a Montana Master Chefs first, the guest challenge. Matt and Teresa McCarty faced off in Battle Short Ribs, with Top Chef’s Stephanie and Casey acting as Sous Chefs. Matt ended up victorious in this “battle of the bungalow”. Casey and Stephanie then squared off in Battle Pheasant, after a scare where they thought they were being given live birds, they were presented with pheasant breasts and the twenty-minute battle ensued. Stephanie was named the winner in this hard-fought contest. Both Matt and Stephanie will be back to defend their titles in ’09.
For more information on this year’s event as well as past years, please see www.montanamasterchefs.com, we hope to see you in 2009.
– Jim Nielsen