MCA Salon Culinaire 2014 winners

by Ken Stewart
The Guam Food Guy

Congratulations to Francis Olivares of Sea Grill, Ernie Merfalen from Meskla Chamoru Fusion, and Peter Duenas, President of the Micronesian Chefs Association, created the winning entrees during the Micronesia Chef’s Association Salon Culinaire 2014 held Wednesday, November 19, in the GCC Culinary Arts Kitchen arena. The annual event creates opportunity for the development of chefs on Guam, and Chef Duenas noted that he has “never been more proud” of the caliber of a competition.

31 junior chefs entered the Junior Chef’s competition, during which the chefs had an hour and a half to prepare a main course from a box of mystery ingredients that included pork tenderloin, shrimp, sweet potato, okra, and Anchor Culinary Cream and Anchor Butter.

Junior Chef Category Winners

1st place
Francis Olivares
Sea Grill Restaurant

2nd place
Leann Lusung
Meskla Chamoru Fusion
(and a member of the 2013 Simon Sanchez High School National Champion ProStart Team)

3rd place
Aron Paul Ocampo
Westin Resort Guam

In the Professional Chef’s category, nine chefs from island restaurants competed to see who could create the best main course from a Mystery box containing a Lamb Rack, Lobster Tail, Pumpkin Tips, Kabocha Squash, Bitter Melon, Anchor Cream and Anchor Butter, all within one hour.

Professional Chef Category winners

1st place
Ernie Merfalen
Executive Chef
Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro

2nd place
Darren Dragon
Executive Sous Chef

3rd place
Cristiano Pozzi
Chef de Cuisine
Al Dente, Hyatt Regency Guam

Only six chefs competed in the Master Chefs “Chopped” competition, during which the chefs had only 30 minutes to prepare their mystery box main course with the following ingredients: Tataga (Kala) fish, Octopus (tako) Chinese Broccoli, Chinese Preserved Egg, Canned Hollandaise, Grand Marnier, Anchor Butter and Anchor Cream.

Master Chef Category winners

1st place
Chef Peter Duenas
MCA President, owner
Meskla Chamorro Fusion

2nd place
Chef Eddie Chien
Executive Chef/owner
Delmonico’s Kitchen & Bar

3rd place
Chef Paul Kerner
GCC Culinary Arts Program head instructor

The competition was hosted by the Micronesian Chefs Association at the GCC Culinary Arts kitchen, and sponsored by Micronesian Brokers Inc., and Fonterra, with support from Triple J Five Star, Guam Farmer’s Co-Op, UOG Cooperative Extension Service, Farm to Table, and Ambros. Everyone competing in this event was a winner for just showing up! It was also great to have Barry Mead participate as a floor judge!

It was Barry’s dream and vision to have this culinary academy program at Guam Community College! Thanks to the staff and administration at Guam Community College for helping make this annual event a success.

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