Chef Battle Royale at Taste of St Louis 2011
Our family and Rain Crow Ranch sponsored the Master Chef Competition on the Lumière Place and River City Casino Culinary Stage at Taste of St. Louis. This Taste of St. Louis culinary competition reached new heights as 8 hand-selected, top-notch chefs took their place in the all new Chef Battle Royale, sponsored by Rain Crow Ranch – American Grassfed Beef.
The competition, which took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday featured dishes created from our beef in the finals on Sunday. This competition matched head-to-head a battle between great and innovative chefs. Chef Jack MacMurray III, the returning 2010 champion faced off against Chef Wes Johnson to prepare the two export ribs we had provided for the completion. The hour long battle was exciting and fun as the chefs interacted with each other and the beef.
The Chef Battle Royale hosted by the Taste of St. Louis Executive Chef, Vito Racanelli of Onesto and Mad Tomato and Chopped Champion Chef Marc Bynum. It was indeed entertaining and a moment of pride in seeing two great chefs prepares our beef.
It was my privilege to sit as one of the judges of the competition. So often we at the farm are caught up in what we do to raise healthy, safe livestock with attention to animal welfare, the environment and the quality. We think and talk in terms of forages, rainfall, calf crop, rate of gain and animal pasture rotation.
It is always with great humbleness and at the same time great pride to have a really great chef prepare our beef, pork or chicken. It reminds me that what we do is produce food. We all talk about pasture to plate, farm to fork, farm to table etc. but it never ceases to amaze me when I am privileged to see the full circle. I have a unique appreciation of the efforts and care our family put into raising the animal. To watch a chef prepare it for a truly remarkable tasting experience is wonderful. It raises the bar to do all in our power to make our contribution the best it can be.
In these finals Chef MacMurray prepared a heavenly risotto with a seared and cooked to perfection portion of ribeye. Yet, my favorite was the Carpaccio served on toasted bread with micro greens. Sorry, Chefs, remember I am the farmer not the food writer!
Chef MacMurray’s creations truly showed his remarkable talent and signature taste. It was wonderful.
Seared beef ribeye with mushroom risotto and balsamic sauce
Chef Wes Johnson also prepared the bone-in ribeye. He cut the rib into steaks with a frenched bone. To “french” a bone means to cut the meat away from the end of a rib or chop, so that part of the bone is exposed. This is done with racks of lamb, beef and pork for esthetic reasons. Many steak aficionados believe the beef has to be cooked with the bone in to have the greatest beef flavor and tenderness. This big hunk of meat is often referred to as the cowboy steak.
Chef Wes seared these steaks in a hot skillet then broke out of the traditional as he finished the beef slowly in the oven smothered in hay soaked with Missouri malt whiskey! I loved the innovation and the taste was phenomenal. I loved it.
Chef Johnson finished off his plating with hand cut and fried potato and a specially prepared Manhattan made from the malt whiskey (it’s in the Mason jar).