Top Chefs Compete at Lake Superior Fish Classic
DULUTH – Fishing – Tickets are going fast for a professional chef fish cook-off and tasting event hosted by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Sea Grant programs in Duluth, Minn., at the Depot on Oct. 4, 2013, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
The Lake Superior Fish Classic is designed as a tribute to the people who manage, harvest, sell, study and prepare Lake Superior fish.
The event will feature 10 chefs from Minnesota and Wisconsin cooking two types of fish: cisco (lake herring) and whitefish. The chefs will compete for $1,000 in prize money in a judged competition and for the public’s taste bud approval with a People’s Choice Award.
Tony Beran (MN), executive chef, Lake Avenue Restaurant, Duluth. Chef Tony graduated from St. Paul Culinary School in 2003. Before moving to Duluth, he trained and worked at Twin Cities’ fine dining institutions like the Strip Club Meat & Fish alongside Chef JD Fratzke where he was first given the opportunity to experiment with locavore cuisine. Tony brought this wealth of knowledge to Duluth’s Nokomis Restaurant and then to the Zeitgeist Arts CafÃ©. At Lake Avenue Restaurant, Chef Tony treats each ingredient with respect and is not afraid of experimentation. This sense of adventure helped Tony win the Minnesota Taste of Elegance Pork Competition in 2008 and 2013, and a place on the the 2014 Minnesota Cooks calendar.
Avery Cassar (MN), executive chef, At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Café, Duluth, Minn. A seven-year star of Chester Creek Cafe, Chef Avery epitomizes sustainability. An avid gardener and volunteer on sustainable farms, he is passionate about sharing fresh and locally harvested foods with his family and the Café diners. He applies his talents to bring food lovers closer to the roots of their favorite foods. Watch how he prepares cisco in this video.
Adam DeSanto (MN), restaurant chef, Woolley’s, Bloomington, Minn. Having grown up in Duluth, Chef Adam has a long-standing affinity for Lake Superior fish. After a stint on the coast of Oregon, he returned to Minnesota to cook with Chef Peter Christenson. On October 4, Chef Adam returns to his roots to compete in the Lake Superior Fish Classic. Welcome home, Adam!
Patrick Gonzales (MN), student chef, Minneapolis, Minn. Here’s one to watch! In two prior Lake Superior fish cook-offs, Patrick impressed the judges and the public alike with his enthusiasm and his ability to accent Superior fish with organic and fresh ingredients. Of Native American descent, he is looking forward to expanding upon his early successes and an exciting career in the culinary arts.
Scott Graden (MN), executive chef, New Scenic Cafe, Duluth, Minn. Chef Scott’s culinary aspirations manifested when he and his Aunt Rita B. bought and renamed the Scenic Cafe to the New Scenic Cafe in 1999. Since then, the Cafe has become a “destination restaurant.” Constantly working with the idea that sustainable and local ingredients make the best food, Chef Scott has evolved into one of the premiere chefs in Minnesota.
Tom Linderholm (MN), executive chef, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minn. After learning the basics of scratch cooking from the best culinary artists the Twin Cities, Chef Tom moved to Colorado to impress diners at a legendary restaurant near Vail. Returning to Minnesota, he turned Odyssey Resort’s hotspots into “North Shore cuisine” destinations with his use of seasonal and regional ingredients. The University’s new chef and Lake Superior’s fish are no strangers since he is also a Lake Superior charter captain.
Christopher Mangless (WI), executive chef, The Traveling Chef and Three Three Five private dining studio, Green Bay, Wisc. Green Bay native Christopher Mangless is the founder of The Traveling Chef Hospitality Group, featuring Three Three Five, Jac B Caramel, and The Traveling Chef, all based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A ’05 graduate of Johnson & Wales’ culinary arts program, Chef Mangless fell into cooking at an early age and was determined to make it his career focus. Prior to his return to Green Bay, Christopher cut his teeth at many highly touted restaurants throughout Colorado, Florida, and Chicago. Three Three Five is his private dining studio committed to local, sustainable, organic agriculture and local artisans.
Melissa Strahota (WI), executive chef, Tempest American Fish and Oyster House, Madison, Wisc. With weekly trips to the farmer’s market, Melissa and the Tempest are dedicated to and focused on using as much local produce as possible. They also make it a priority to use nothing but sustainable seafood. Melissa has been cooking for 20 years and achieved an associate’s degree in culinary arts at Madison College.
Seth VanderLaan (WI), banquet chef, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Milwaukee. VanderLaan regularly oversees catering events for upwards of 2,500 guests in his work for the Potawatomi Casino. His culinary style is simple, contemporary American cuisine with unconventional influences. He emphasizes using high quality, sustainable ingredients when developing dishes. VanderLaan began working as a line cook when he was 16, and graduated from the Great Lakes Culinary Institute in Traverse City, Mich. He is certified by the American Culinary Federation and has worked as a sous chef in Mount Pleasant and Detroit, Mich. At home, VanderLaan works to perfect his canning and food preservation skills, experimenting with pickles, jams and sauces.
Robert Wohlfeil (MN), executive chef, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Minneapolis, Minn. Chef Wohlfeil kicked off his career in the restaurant business in Fargo, North Dakota, at an early age. After relocating to Minneapolis, he earned his BS degree in Culinary Management, and worked as Oceanaire’s sous chef. His secrets to fantastic seafood include fewer ingredients and simpler preparations that accentuate the food’s profound flavors.
The challenging task of judging falls to Donald Miller, executive chef with the University of Notre Dame; John Occhiato, last year’s winner and executive chef with Cosmos in Minneapolis; and Ryan Schroeder Jr., executive chef and co-owner of Big Tomatoes in Green Bay and Neenah, Wis.
Celebrity judges include Jason Davis of “On the Road” fame with KSTP-TV in Minneapolis and Juli Kellner, host of “WDSE Cooks” with WDSE-TV in Duluth. While savoring the flavors, diners can listen to live music and chat with the chefs and sustainable fisheries experts. At the end of the evening, the winners will be announced and door prizes delivered. Sponsors include the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and Lake Superior Magazine. Judge for yourself; are Wisconsin or Minnesota chefs better at cooking Lake Superior fish? Tickets ($15) are available online or by calling (218) 726-8106.
For more information, visit Lake Superior Fish Classic.