Chefs chop up the competition

Chefs chop up the competition

MARQUETTE — Chefs, food lovers, and critics came together for the Reinhardt Foods Show earlier today at Lakeview Arena in Marquette.

The Foods show has been going on for over twenty years, and the Chef Competition showcases some of the finest chefs in the Upper Peninsula. The competition featured a new format this year called chopped style, where the chefs prepared an appetizer, salad and entrée for the judges.

“This is an opportunity for us to get out and try something new and to push ourselves to the next level, do something different, see where our talents are at,” said 2014 champion James Smiljanich, “this year we’re doing it in chop style, this is going to be definitely a different experience. I’ve always watched Chopped on the Food Network and now it’s interesting to be in it, and so far I’m having a blast.”

The only main difference from the popular television show was the exclusion of dessert. The new format raises the intensity of the competition and brings plenty of new challenges for the chefs.

“With it being a mystery basket you have that element of surprise,” continued Smiljanich, “what you want to do is earlier is look at your pantry and see if you can get a very good rough idea. It is funny, I didn’t know what the appetizer course was but I had in my mind of doing a cake of some sort and when I saw the salmon I was like o.k. we’re going to go with a salmon cake idea. It varies, you’ll have a day where you got inspiration going and then other days you just have chef’s block and just can’t think of anything at that moment. It also depends on the taste preferences of the judges.”

After everything was cooked, eaten, and critiqued Jeremy Pomeroy of Palette Bistro in Petoskey was awarded the travel trophy and a cash prize this year.