Chef Todd McDunn, Lakeview Café, Scotts Miracle Gro Campus, took top honors at the Ohio Pork Council’s Taste of Elegance Chefs Competition and Reception, earning the coveted Chef Par Excellence award.
Chef Aaron Braun, The Meadowlark, was named Superior Chef, while Chef Ryan Berlin was selected Premier Chef. Chef Aaron Braun also earned the People’s Choice award.
This year, each of the three chefs prepared an appetizer, and entrée featuring pork. Judging the event were Chef Michael Deligatta, Chef Par Excellence in the 2017 Taste of Elegance from the Inn at Versailles; Chef Chuck Langstaff, longtime supporter of OPC and known as the “Prince of Pork” and Erin Vasicek, Coordinator of the Columbus Food Bloggers group and blogger at the SpiffyCookie.com. In keeping with tradition, the evening began with guests receiving white gloves and a bone-in pork chop. After sampling assorted cheeses and appetizers, they were invited to taste samples from each of the chefs’ menu. Additionally, a selection of Ohio wines was offered by the Ohio Grape Industries.
The evening provides a unique opportunity for Ohio farmers to mingle with chefs who have prepared the fruit of their efforts — pork — in unique and exciting ways. Although many farmers have spent their lives raising pigs, few have had the opportunity to dine on what may be considered culinary delicacies, like tail or cheek.
Pork chops, as well as the pork used by each of the chefs, were donated by J.H. Routh Packing Company in Sandusky. Event sponsors included the Ohio Pork Council, American Culinary Federation, Ohio Soybean Council, The J.H. Routh Packing Company, Farm Credit Mid-America, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, United Producers and Ohio Grape Industries.