An Epic Battle…

Last weekend, 70 guests converged in the Lewis & Clark Reception Barn’s auditorium for the 5th annual Montana Master Chefs Top Chef Cook-Off.

This year’s contestants:

Chef Dale Levitski: Sprout Restaurant in Chicago.  Third-place finish on season three of Bravo’s Top Chef.

Chef Lee Anne Wong: New York City.  Contestant on season one of Top Chef, producer of seasons 2-6 of Top Chef, and currently featured on Unique Eats airing on The Cooking Channel.

The chefs had 45 minutes to prepare two courses for the judges: Violet Grgich from Grgich Hills Estates Winery; Ken Leonard, five-time Montana Master Chefs guest; and Michael Mathews, three-time Montana Master Chefs guest.

The secret ingredient the chefs were required to use was grass fed natural beef, lamb and pork from the Blackfoot Valley (best in show animals from the local 4-H).  To determine who started first and had first choice at selecting the best meat, the chefs had to first answer a series of rare trivia questions about food.  Lee Anne won, so she got first choice.  She selected lamb chop.

During the 45 minutes, there were a series of “twists” thrown at the chefs, derived from people from the audience who drew the scenarios from a hat.  The first twist was “add one of the pre-selected secret ingredients – either Coca-Cola®, Pineapple or SPAM®. The chefs chose SPAM®.  Another twist pulled from the hat was “prepare a 3rd course”…this certainly made the chefs panic, but they came through brilliantly.

In the end, the judges raved, and ultimately gave the crown to Lee Anne Wong…by only two points.  We’d like to thank Dale, Lee Anne, the judges, and the guests for making this such an outstanding event.  ‘Til next year.