On July 25th (hard to believe it’s been almost a month) Rick and I had the honour of being invited to judge the St. Regis Chef’s Challenge at the Park Silly Sunday Market in Park City, Utah. I bring it up now because this event takes place on the last Sunday of every month during the market’s season and the next challenge takes place this coming Sunday. So get to Park City- have a good time and enjoy this fun and creative event. The Market is a wonderful venue just in itself but the St. Regis is pulling in some very creative and talented chefs to compete- which makes this a “must not miss!”
Here’s a recap of the last event and the pictures I managed to take whilst tasting and conferring with the other judges. The Chefs of the day were Chef Jean Louis Montecot, Owner/Exec Chef :Jean Louis Restaurant & Bar, Park City, Utah and Chef Dean Hottle, Owner/Exec Chef: Snake Creek Grill, Heber City, Utah. The Host Chef was Chef Chip McMullin – Executive Chef: St. Regis Deer Crest Resort.
Here’s a little background on all of the chefs:
Jean Louis Montecot grew up in the Normandy region of France and got a very early start in the culinary world – he started his apprenticeship at age 12 and graduated from culinary school at age 16. After working in Paris,
Provence and Morrocco, he moved to NYC and became Chef de Cuisine at the famous french restaurant, La Cote Basque in 1985. After a stint in Chicago where he opened a series of Yvette restaurants, Jean Louis made his way to Utah where he served at the helm of the Sundance Resort restaurants for 4 years. He opened the eponymous Jean Louis Restaurant in 2006, and continues to be a dynamic force in the Park City community.
Chef Dean Hottle started working in the kitchen at a very young age, learning from his Mother and Grandmothers. Growing up in New York and Connecticut gave him the opportunities to work side-by-side with the best.
Dean spent time in the kitchen working with the highly acclaimed celebrity
Chef Brendan Walsh at The Elm’s Restaurant in Ridgefield, Connecticut and
Chef Chad Scothorn at The Cosmopolitan in Telluride, Colorado. Not only did
he work for exceptional chefs, he also received further training and
education while earning an Associates Degree from The Culinary Institute of
America in Hyde Park, New York.
Chef Dean Hottle came to Utah in 1999 and spent six years working under
Chef Barb Hill at Snake Creek Grill. Dean brought his culinary vision to
Snake Creek Grill, with fourteen years of fine dining experience. There he transforms classical dishes into comforting meals.
Chef Chip McMullin’s culinary career began in 1994 when he graduated from the renowned New England Culinary Institute’s Advanced Placement Program in the top 5 percent of his class. He then attended Pasadena City College and the Epicurean Culinary School in Hollywood, McMullin worked as Chef de Partie at the four-star French restaurant The Four Oaks in Bel Air, California. Next, he served as sous chef at the fashionable Roxxi Restaurant in Pasadena before heading east to the New England Culinary Institute.
He interned as an apprentice pastry chef at The Grand Palazzo Hotel in the
Virgin Islands, then traveled back to California where he was employed as
dining room manager and chef for the Chelsea Restaurant in San Marino.
McMullin was sous chef at the internationally-renowned five-star,
five-diamond Mary Elaine’s Restaurant at The Phoenician from 1995-2001. He became executive sous chef at the Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho
Mirage, California in May 2001, then moved to The Westin Riverwalk in
January 2004 as executive chef. Chip moved to Park City to bring his talents
and upbeat energies and creativity to the new St Regis Deer Crest Resort as
Executive Chef in August 2009.
And now on to the challenge…Chef Jean Louis Montecot and Chef Dean Hottle were introduced to the crowd and presented with identical coolers assembled from the St. Regis kitchens. They both got right to work with the assistance of two volunteer Chef Assistants selected from the audience – Kali Mower from Salt Lake City assisted Chef Jean Louis, and Terri Stoddard, also from Salt Lake, assisted Chef Dean. The St Regis coolers were brimming with
fresh ingredients including Ahi Tuna, Dungenous crab, various mushrooms,
fennel, strawberries, cherries, blood oranges, fingerling potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, salad greens,assorted fresh herbs including basil, mint, and chervil.
Working under the hot sun and with the encouragement of the fascinated crowd,the two competing chefs crafted a total of five varied dishes and two
blended fresh drinks.While the chefs labored at a furious pace, samples from
Snake Creek Grill and Jean Louis Restaurant were passed out to the audience
to familiarize them with the cuisine of the Chefs’ respective establishments.
The delicious results of the chefs’ rapid work at the Main stage was
evaluated by the judges. Rick and I were joined by Terri Gentry, Director of Catering at the St. Regis Deer Crest Resort and Maggie Alvarez, Executive Assistant to the General Manager, St Regis Deer Crest Resort.
A beautiful and refreshing drink!
After carefully tasting each of the dishes and the drinks, the panel of
judges conferred and we were unable to name a clear winner – both Chefs had
created such flavorful, creative, fresh and artfully presented items that
we deemed that they both were winners!
Both Chef Dean Hottle and Chef Jean Louis Montecot were awarded gift
certificates for dinner at J&G Grill, the signature Jean-George Vongerichten
restaurant at the St. Regis Deer Crest Resort.
As the judges departed and the chefs commenced cleaning up their work
stations, the tantalizing remains of their efforts were quickly consumed by
the crowd who polished off every delicious morsel within moments!
The St. Regis Chef Challenge takes place on the last Sunday of each month in
Park City this summer – the next Chef Challenges will take place on August
29th and September 26th from 1:00-2:00pm with new chefs testing their
talents, new judges evaluating the results, and new chefs’ assistants being
selected from the audience at the Main Stage of the Park Silly Sunday Market.
Go on-you know you want to get in on this!