Chef Bashford Takes It
Chef Michael Bashford, catering manager at Beretta Farms in Etobicoke, won round ten of the new Discovered Culinary Competition. Chef Bashford will join the winners of the first nine rounds to compete in the semi-finals on March 4 – 6, 2012 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.So by now, you should be well versed in how this competition works. Here’s where this one differs. In a mystery box challenge, the Discovered Culinary Competition features four Canadian chefs competing against the clock. In addition to Chef Bashford, competitors included Amanda Walti, sous chef at Origin restaurant; Paul Wejman, sous chef at Paganelli’s restaurant; and James Robbins, pizzaiola at Paganelli’s restaurant, all of Toronto.
The judging panel comprises three local chefs. Monday night’s panel included Donna Dooher, executive chef/proprietor at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen; Daniel Mezzolo, executive chef at Gusto 101; and Rodney Bowers, chef/owner of Hey Meatball, all in Toronto.
The mystery boxes included gorgonzola, pistachios, prosciutto and rosemary for the appetizer round; Liber Terre beef bavette, asparagus, chorizo sausage and French’s horseradish Dijon mustard for the entrée round; and blackberries, buttermilk, cinnamon and ginger for dessert. “I had so many ideas going through my head,” said Chef Bashford. “I ended up trashing the first sauce I made for the appetizer. The buttermilk was the hardest ingredient to figure out.”
Chef Bashford wrapped a slice of Granny Smith apple with the prosciutto and roasted pistachios and surrounded it with a sauce of gorgonzola and rosemary. He paired grilled beef bavette with a chorizo and fingerling potato hash flavoured with mustard for the main dish along with grilled asparagus with a smoked paprika and mustard hollandaise. For dessert, he made a ginger shortbread cookie topped with blackberry purée and a buttermilk and icing sugar glaze.
“This was great fun,” said judge Donna Dooher. “The competitors did a great job and the final decision was very close. Chef Bashford was steady throughout and while he had a rough start with his appetizer, his main dish was executed perfectly.”