Setting the table for Taste of Peñasco 2013

Six worthy culinary challengers are sharpening their knives in preparation for this weekend’s 6th edition of the Taste of Peñasco (T.O.P. Chef competition). The gloves come off and the aprons go on just around 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16th at Shrimp Plaza (corner of Blvds. Benito Juarez and Freemont). The judging panel this year is filled with an equal amount of talent, and you could be one of them (raffle tickets for judging spot available up until 10:30 a.m. Feb. 16th  $5 US / 60 pesos each).

At a recent press conference alongside representatives from this year’s benefitting charities (Fire Department, DIF Hemodialysis project, and the Santa Claus Club), T.O.P. Chef event guru Rosie Glover explained the fifth spot on the judging panel will be drawn at 10:45 a.m. (must be present to win), and the secret ingredient of the day will be announced just 5 minutes prior to when cooking is set to begin. Last year’s secret ingredient, dates, have since popped up on menus around town including that of 2012 “Iron Chef” Mickey Medina of his own establishment Chef. Competitors for the 2013 edition of T.O.P. Chef include past champions Ramón Ramos of La Cocina de Ramón, Luca of Pan e Vino, Chef Mickey, as well as gastronomical giants from Mayan Palace, Mare Blu, and Don Julio’s.

Raffle prizes for this year’s Taste are also worthy of a seat at the table, with vacation packages to Puerta Privada, Sonoran Resorts, Laguna Shores, and by Castaways, 2 tickets to this year’s Circus Mexicus with Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, artwork, t-shirts, services around town and more. Plus, this year the Phoenix Suns are providing the cherry on top with a Phoenix Suns package to include game tickets, autographed picture, basketball, and gift bag.  You do not need to be present to win from the “general raffle” pool; drawings will begin around noon and run throughout the day. General raffle tickets are $5 US each or 6 for $20 US and are available with John Fowler of the Santa Claus Club, at Latitude 31, ProAlliance Insurance, Peñasco Beauty Center, and with Mary Snyder of Puerta Privada.

To know before you go:

2013 Taste of Peñasco Feb. 16, 2013  10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Shrimp Park (Plaza del Camaron)

Food and drink tickets: $1 US / 12 pesos each  **Must use tickets for food and drink purchases at event (or rather, no money accepted at booths)**

Judging raffle tickets: $5 US / 60 pesos each  **Must be present to win** General raffle tickets: $5 US / 60 pesos each or 6 Tickets for $20 US / 240 pesos

10:45 a.m. Drawing for Judging seat

10:55 a.m.  Announcement of the secret ingredient

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.  T.O.P. Chef competition!

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Fun! Music! Food! Entertainment! Art! Raffles!

Meet the star-studded judging panel line-up for 2013

Patrick Kemmache: Patrick Kemmache was Director of Food & Beverage for The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach, Florida. He was appointed right as the property prepared for its first fall and holiday travel season since completion of their $20 million renovation project, garnering a AAA 4-Diamond status. While at The Palms Hotel & Spa, Kemmache oversaw all dining and bar operations, culinary and purchasing functions, staffing, quality control, and profitability including the signature “natural gourmet” restaurant, Essensia, and all other dining outlets, as well as corporate meetings execution and social catering/banquets. Kemmache, a graduate from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris and a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from the University of Paris, has received several accolades including 5-Star and 5-Diamond ratings, induction into the James Beard Foundation, and numerous Food & Beverage “Executive of the Year” awards. He most recently served as the Director of Food & Beverage for The Delano Hotel/Morgans Hotels and Resorts, operated by China Grill Management. Prior to this position, he served as Director of Food & Beverage of The Umstead Hotel & Spa in North Carolina, the only 5-Star/5-Diamond property in the Raleigh-Durham area.

Chef Gustavo Gutierrez Cortes:  Award-winning Chef Gustavo Gutierrez is originally from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, where he studied the culinary arts before accepting a position with the renowned chain “Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita”, where he spent 4 years before moving on to the “Four Seasons Resort”, Mexico D.F. for another 3 years. Chef Gutierrez went on to spend 3 years at the “Mayan Palace”, after which he became Executive Chef for the Spanish chain “Hotel Bahia Principe Akumal”, Riviera Maya. Currently Executive Chef at Las Palomas Resort in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, he brings his own special flair to Mexican as well as International cuisine. In addition to the work he loves, Chef Gutierrez has participated with in the training of new talent by giving classes and mentoring students at local schools, such as CETMAR, CONALEP, UTPP and UTH. Always looking to expand his horizons as well as to share the benefit of his experience with others, Gutierrez has participated in contests both as a chef and as a judge. This is Gustavo’s 2nd consecutive year as a judge for the PUERTO PENASCO T.O.P. CHEF competition.

Chef Aaron May:  With a passion for food and irrepressible creativity, Aaron May was born to be a chef. His quick mind and low threshold for boredom certainly explain his constantly-growing local restaurant empire. By the age of 15, Chef Aaron May was working in a restaurant kitchen, and at 20 he enrolled in the culinary arts program at Scottsdale Community College. Chef May then went on to study at Ecole Ritz Escoffier in Paris, France, working in restaurants to refine his skill as a classically-trained chef. Upon his return to the States, May accepted a position at the upscale restaurant Acacia at the “Four Seasons Resort” in Scottsdale, Arizona. He later had the opportunity to work with celebrity chef Douglas Rodriguez at the “Westin Kierland Resort & Spa”, which led to an opportunity to continue working with Rodriguez in Manhattan, where he was mentored in the modern, deconstructionist approach to cooking that he still employs today.   After a stint at Mario Batali’s “Casa Mono”, Chef May moved back to Phoenix, where he opened his own restaurant, “Sol y Sombra”, which opened to rave reviews in 2006.  Since then, May has forged partnerships to open “Over Easy”, a popular breakfast restaurant with two locations, “The Lodge” a funky North Woods-style bar, “Renegade Tap and Kitchen” in north Scottsdale, May’s Counter, offering Southern food in Tucson and “Praying Monk”,  a high-energy modern American beer cafe in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. Like May himself, each venue is sophisticated yet approachable.

His restaurants have appeared on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and The Learning Channel’s “Best Food Ever,” as well as earning a fiercely loyal fan base and many local awards, including “Best Tapas,” and “Best Speakeasy.” May has also garnered attention from national publications such as Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Sunset Magazine and USA Today. In 2010, he was inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame as “Chef Extraordinaire.”

Chef Adrian Siqueiros:  A chef for 7 years, Chef Adrian Siqueiros studied gastronomy at “Mundo Chef de Hermosillo”. His first job was as sous chef at “LUSSO TRATORIA RESTAURANTE ITALIANO” with Ramon Semsa, the owner of the popular chain Chiltepinos en Hermosillo, Sonora. He was later offered the opportunity to be chef at the “Hotel Royal Palace”, where he was part of a team of chefs servicing events at that hotel as well as the “Hotel San Martin” and other event salons in Hermosillo. Eventually Siqueiros moved on to be chef, with Elvira Vasquez at “Restaurante El Farallon”, a franchise from Guadalajara, until he was called to be executive chef at the famous “Maximiliano’s” in Hermosillo, where the clientele included world famous celebrities, local and national news teams, and people political figures from around the world. Later, he helped open 2 restaurants, the upscale “Risotto”, in Caborca and MED Restaurant Cuisine in Puerto Penasco, where he stayed on as chef until going to Guaymas, to work with chef Israel Romo at his own restaurant, “Bajas Salads”.

Fifth Judge: ?????    This could be you!!!!

Judging Details: The “Secret Ingredient” will be revealed at 10:55am on the morning of the event. Chefs must include that ingredient in an Appetizer, Entrée and Dessert. The time allotted for each course is as follows:

– Appetizer 15 minutes

– Entre-30 minutes

– Dessert-15 minutes

To maintain anonymity, each chef will be assigned an identification number. Plates will be brought to judges with that number. Each plate will be judged on a scale of 1-5 for Presentation, Taste and Creative Use of Secret Ingredient.

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