Serving up the Chef’s Cup results |

Serving up the Chef’s Cup results

Kimber and Jeff Davidson - the hearts of Hernando's, in Winter Park, and the keyholders to the recipes, celebrated their 22nd year with the Chef's Cup event. Their sauce for their famous stromboli, cooks for more than 24 hours.
Photo Courtesy of Cynthia McCoy |

The 34th Annual Chef’s Cup, held Saturday, Dec. 3 at Winter Park Resort, dished out quite an affair for the event, a benefit for the youth ski and board education programs at the Winter Park Competition Center.

Band Natural Geometry played crowd favorites for the event, themed “Fire and Ice” and included several elements of one or both reflected in the dishes. Highlight was an eye-catching ice luge flame sculpture featuring Zyr vodka, one of the sponsors.

Participating restaurants included Hernando’s (with their famous Stromboli and Caesar salad), which celebrated 22 years at the Cup; the Lodge at Sunspot (a highlight was its braised buffalo shank on stone-ground polenta), Lunch Rock (who’s serving up a delightful “Eat Light, Ski Light” theme this year), Vertical Bistro & Tap (which featured a spicy Asian theme), Devil’s Thumb Resort (which included Heck’s, Ranch House, and Volario’s), Back Bowl Soup Company (who scooped up many of the awards this year), and Wild Horse Catering (They also announced the opening of its Winter Solstice Bistro, in December, at the former Pearl Dragon II location in Fraser.)

Among the appetizer courses served up, Back Bowl Soup’s Korean Kimchi stew and buckwheat noodle Kongguksu (with a wedge of watermelon) won them 1st Place in the Best Appetizer, Most Creative, and Best Presentation categories. Second Place in the appetizer category went to Devil’s Thumb Ranch (shrimp and grits), and 3rd Place to the butternut squash soup from Lunch Rock. Most Creative runners-up (the 2nd and 3rd Place finalists) were Wild Horse Catering / Winter Solstice Bistro and Devil’s Thumb Ranch.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch rounded up the 1st Place votes for Best Entrée, and for the People’s Choice Award. They served up a delectable wild game (wagyu, elk and buffalo) meatloaf on sweet-potato gratin. Wild Horse Catering won 2nd Place with its lobster firecracker and yuzu hollandaise; and Lunch Rock received 3rd Place with its blackened chicken and roasted corn on Arcadian lettuce.

To round out the palate, patrons stampeded toward Wild Horse Catering’s butterscotch pudding. It had a ginger shortbread finger to eat it with, and malted whipped cream. It won the restaurant 1st Place in Best Desert.

Winter Park Resort Village restaurant Vertical won 2nd Place with its caramel apple bread pudding (a 3rd Place award for People’s Choice was also on the menu for them). Devil’s Thumb Resort brought home 3rd Place in the Best Desert category with its chocolate brownie with creative, fiery cinnamon bark.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch won 2nd Place for Presentation. Wild Horse Catering won 3rd Place for Presentation, and 2nd Place for the People’s Choice Award.

Tonia Shaw, new races and events manager at the Competition Center, said she’s excited about her ideas for the upcoming years’ events. Before joining the Competition Center team, she was an events coordinator in south Florida.

“Now that I’ve got this one under my belt, I know how to make it even better next year.”

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