I had previously shared with you the winner of my Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing that was held in conjunction with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show earlier this month at the Orange County Convention Center. Jacob Rios, sous chef at B Resort, took first place — and the $1000 prize — for his Herb Crusted Florida Black Grouper with sweet potato puree with house-made butters. I also wanted to share the names and dishes of the other winners.
Second place went to Denny Roach from Disney’s All-Star Resort. Roach prepared Black Sesame Bao with 5 Spice Duck Breast, Orange Gastrique, Ginger Carrot Puree, Pickled Beets, and Chili Garlic Enoki Mushrooms.
Edwin Fernandez of Grande Lakes Orlando took third for his Organic Whole Wheat Durum Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Whisper Creek Farm butternut squash puree, local house-made ricotta, and charred garden tomatoes |arrowhead spinach.
The three top winners were selected by a panel of judges, but attendees to the event were invited to select a People’s Choice award by placing a ticket in a box placed at each cook’s station. Getting the most votes in that category was Maelo Cotto of RusTeak. Cotto offered jars of savory custard topped with sauteed Beef Tenderloin with red wine reduction.
The event was sponsored by the American Culinary Federation, which provided the prize of $1000 for the winner, and Sysco and FreshPoint, which provided ingredients for the chefs.
Congratulations to all the sous chefs.