Yesterday I attended the Cadillac Culinary Challenge competition at the Irvine Spectrum Center sponsored by Bon Appetit, Epicurious and Share Our Strength.
The cook-off in Irvine featured a celebrity chef — Mary Sue Milliken of The Two Hot Tamales and Border Grill fame — against a local chef — Orange County’s own Chef Yvon Goetz of The Winery competing using sustainable seafood in their dishes.
Beautiful produce was generous provided by Melissa’s Produce and included an array of citrus, tropical fruits such as pineapple and papaya, all of which are organic.
I was one of the five judges for the competition. We were first presented with a beautiful plate from Chef Milliken of red snapper taco and a mahi mahi ceviche. The ceviche was simply stunning. I loved its citrusy flavors and the tartness level was right up my alley. I would’ve liked more heat but it was probably just perfect for everyone else — yes I have a very high tolerance for heat.
Chef Yvon Goetz’s plate arrives next and it was Chili Lime-Rubbed Mahi Mahi topped with a tropical fruit chutney. Served on a bed of jasmine rice sauteed in onion, garlic, ginger and butter it was later infused with the most delicious lemongrass Gewurztraminer butter sauce over it.
I was very impressed because I am not a fan of fruit with my protein but this dish blew me away! Everything came together well and the flavors melded together perfectly.
The Cadillac Culinary Challenge continues in Glendale this coming weekend. If you’re interested in attending, check out the event’s website for more details.