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Richie to Duke It Out in Vegas Card

Written By Scott Joseph On January 18, 2016

Duke Bourbon

Listen up, Pilgrims.

Orlando chef Greg Richie is headed to the Wild, Wild West Tuesday — that would be Las Vegas — as a finalist in the Dining with the Duke challenge, a cocktail-creation and bourbon-food pairing competition.

The Duke in this case isn’t royalty, unless you count Hollywood stars as blue bloods. We’re talking John Wayne, the quintessential movie cowboy whose estate has authorized the production of Duke Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Wayne, who died in 1979, was something of a bourbon aficionado, it turns out.

RichieRichie is one of six finalists selected from among submissions to contest organizer Tasting Panel magazine. The multi-day contest will begin Tuesday afternoon with a cocktail creation event. After that, Richie says regarding details about the remaining events, “They’re keeping it close to their chest.” He knows there will be an outdoor competition of some sorts, and a Mystery Dinner challenge, but organizers have been short on details, except to advise him, “You’ll have to have your wits about you.”

Richie says he first tried Duke bourbon about a year ago at the suggestion of his liquor rep for Soco, the Thornton Park restaurant he leads. “It’s actually quite good,” he says. He presented a banana pudding recipe for the competition. Richie said that Patrick Wayne, one of the star’s sons, came through Orlando for a bottle signing event and had dinner at the restaurant and liked it very much.

We’ll check in with Richie over the next few days, but be sure to send him some support as he heads out to represent Orlando with a message below. Here’s my advice, chef: Avoid trying to make a dish based on True Grit — that’s too easy. But I fully support an entree called Rooster Cogburn. Think of it — Coq au Bourbon!

You’re welcome.




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