Chef Hari Pulapaka, of Cress Restaurant in Deland, Florida, won the Gold award at the inaugural Farm to Table Chefs Taste Challenge.
His winning creating, “NOLA — New Old Latin Asian,” took the top honor at the Aug. 7 competition at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Pulapaka’s dish featured hatch green chile panna cotta, smoked redfish brandade, redfish ceviche and eggplant massaman.
Chef Richard Jones, of Green Door Gourmet in Nashville, Tennessee, took home Silver honors for his shrimp-and-grits dish, which consisted of ramp butter-poached Louisiana shrimp on garbanzo grits with pickled okra, smoky green lentil sauce Americain, country ham crisp and Tabasco butter.
Chef Matthew Farmer, of Apolline Restaurant in New Orleans, won the “Fan Favorite,” for his dish, which featured roasted sweet potato bisque, confit duck leg, fennel and sorghum-roasted sunflower seeds.
The chefs hail from various geographical regions across the U.S., and were challenged to create the best dish that utilizes farm-fresh items from a pantry of both seasonal local ingredients and products donated by state agricultural departments.
The dishes were judged by a panel of industry-renowned judges, including chef Sue Zemanick, the 2014 James Beard award recipient for “Best Chef — South;” certified master chef Brad Barnes, of the Culinary Institute of America; Kevin Belton, of the New Orleans School of Cooking; Gary Prell, vice president culinary development, Centerplate; and Izabela Wojcik, director of house programming, The James Beard Foundation.
The Chefs Taste Challenge is produced by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, in partnership with the SoFAB Institute, the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Centerplate, Chef’s Roll and Gambit. The CTC is held in conjunction with the Farm to Table International Conference, which took place Aug. 8-10 at the convention center. For more information on F2Ti, visit f2t-int.com.