Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chef Dan Capello wins Diamond Chef, again

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 10:50 PM

JUDGING:  Chefs taste the second course at Diamond Chef 2011
The votes have been tabulated, the results consumed and the crowd dispersed after this year’s Diamond Chef competition at the Statehouse Convention Center. Once again, Chef Dan Capello has come out on top. The Chenal Country Club executive chef bested Pulaski Technical College/Arkansas Culinary School lead instructor Chef Cindy Malik for his second take of the title.

Tonight’s secret ingredient? Rabbit. The chefs were given 10 minutes to disassemble their rabbits before the hour started on the clock. They were each then given an hour to complete three dishes — an appetizer, entrée and dessert course — at 20 minutes apiece.

The two started out with quick dishes. Capello’s cilantro rabbit tacos with mango margarita were met with Malik’s rabbit-lettuce-mustard wraps with cucumber salad. Malik countered with apricot glazed rabbit, potato pot pie, creamed spinach and glazed carrots in the second round against Capello’s parmesan crusted rabbit with sautéed spinach and potato dumplings.

The final dishes: Capello’s hazelnut encrusted rabbit, blue cheese ravioli and chantrelle mushrooms went up against Malik’s rabbit sausage and goat cheese tart with poached pears, watermelon sorbet and micro-greens. In the end, Capello outscored Malik 81.42 points to 78.77 points.

It was an interesting night. Malik’s dancing entrance to “Hey, Good Lookin’” drew laughs. Governor Mike Beebe and First Lady Ginger Beebe were in attendance, along with a plethora of personalities, foodies and generally hungry people from all over Central Arkansas. Nearly 600 were in attendance, a definite increase over last year. Lots more silent auction prizes too.

You should check out Christie Ison’s slideshow and story about the event over at Fancy Pants Foodie — and our own slideshow by Elizabeth James of the evening’s events.

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