MenuDirections’ cooking "show"

At MenuDirections 2014, chefs reveal character and creativity at our unique culinary competition.

Here are the four dishes that were created:

  • Team A—Justin Gillette and Steve Pexton: Ponzu Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Sriracha Mayo, Garlic-Wasabi Black Bean Mash and Pickled Plums.
  • Team B—Joe Kraft and Robert Winther: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Vegetable Mushroom Duzelle, Garbanzo Bean and Black Bean Cake, Lemon Plum and Blueberry Compote with Greens Dressed with Wasabi Vinaigrette.
  • Team C—Darla Mehrkens and Melissa Martinez: Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry-Plum-Wasabi BBQ Sauce, Baked Beans with Red Peppers, Garlic, Onion, Sriracha and Parsley, and Creamed Spinach.
  • Team D—Paul Nicolini and Tom Sewell: Pork Loin Marinated in Sriracha Chili Sauce & Carolina Blonde Bean Sauce, over Housemade Black Bean Noodles Tossed with Orange Sauce and Fresh Vegetables.

Earlier in the day, as I was prepping our contestants before they entered the “kitchen,” Darla asked me a question. She said, “Are you saying it was totally random, two girls against six guys?”

“It isn’t two girls and six guys,” I responded. “It’s a team of two women against a team of two men, a team of two men and a team of two men.” And then, to try to lighten the mood, I added, “And my money’s on you,” pointing at Darla and Melissa.

Well, it turns out I was prescient, for it was indeed the ladies who earned the nod from our judges. They received a plaque, free registration to MenuDirections 2015 and an invitation to be judges at next year’s event. Not bad pay for 75 minutes’ work.

But really, our hats are off to all four teams, who demonstrated skill and creativity under fire while gaining 75 minutes of fame, and who undoubtedly took back more than a few ideas for their operations—which is why they came to MenuDirections in the first place.

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